Universiteit Leiden

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Marie-José Goumans

Professor Molecular Cardiovascular Cell Biology

Prof.dr. M.J.T.H. Goumans
+31 71 526 9277

Marie-José Goumans is professor of cardiovascular cell biology at the department of cell and chemical biology at the LUMC. In 2009 Marie-José Goumans was accepted as a member of the Young Academie, the junior section of the Dutch Royal Academy of Sciences, consisting of the 50 most prominent scientist under 45 years of age). In 2004, she received a prestigious VIDI fellowship of the Netherlands Organisation of Science

More information about Marie-José Goumans

Cardiovascular regenerative medicine

The focus of the research is cardiovascular regeneration. We focus on cardiac (progenitor) cells and signal transduction pathways to develop new approaches to improve cardiovascular recovery upon injury or disease.  Cells respond to growth signals from their environment and interaction between cells and the extracellular matrix is important for proper differentiation. We aim to unravel the signals that the embryo uses and translated that knowledge to ‘tissue engineer’ heart and vessels in a dish, improve (stem) cell transplantation, and stimulate endogenous repair.

The development of heart and blood vessels is a highly coordinated process. Optimal regulation of growth factor signalling is crucial for normal embryonic development, as well as normal physiology in adult life. Transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) is one of the growth factor families important for the differentiation of stem cells into the building blocks of heart and blood vessels, both in a dish and in real life. Furthermore, mutations in the TGF-β signal transduction pathway underlie the hereditary cardiovascular disorders pulmonary arterial hypertensions and Rendu Osler Weber’s disease.  Disturbed TGF-β signalling also contributes to fibrosis of the heart and the development of heart failure.

For our study of cardiac tissue repair we make use of (stem) cells present in the human heart. Cardiac progenitor cells, isolated from human heart biopsies, are able to differentiate into all cell types present in the heart, and improve heartfunction when transplanted into the myocardial wall after myocardial infarction. Epicardial derived cells (EPDCs) are also important for cardiac repair. EPDCs will not differentiate into new cardiomyoctes but will support the newly formed cells and provide instructive signals to the healing heart wall. These two human cardiac cell populations offer the possibility to generate ‘heart tissues’ to study their behaviour in 3D. Growth factors and exosomes secreted by cardiac cells have a positive effect on healing of cardiac tissue. Therefore, CPCs and EPDCs are an excellent cell model to explore the impact of paracrine signalling, such as TGF-β, on cardiovascular regeneration. One of the research themes is therefore if, by activating endogenous repair mechanisms or in vitro tissue engineering, we can improve the regenerative capacity of the heart.


Academic career

Marie-José Goumans, did her PhD in cardiovascular development at the Hubrecht Laboratory, investigating the role of TGFβ in cardiovascular development under the supervision of Christine Mummery. She received her PhD in 1999 with a thesis entitled: Functional analysis of TGFβsignalling in early mouse development. She started her postdoctoral training at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer research in Uppsala, Sweden and the Netherlands Cancer Institute where she made important contributions on how TGFβ affects endothelial cell behaviour. In 2003, Marie Jose was appointed assistant professor at the dept of cardiology, Utrecht UMC, where she initiated studies on cardiac progenitor cells. In 2004, she was awarded a prestigious NWO VIDI grant to unravel the role of cardiac progenitor cells in heart regeneration. In 2008, Marie - José Goumans moved to the department of Molecular Cell Biology, at the Leiden UMC and continued her studies on cardiac progenitor cell biology, in particular the role of the TGFβ superfamily. In 2009, she became a member of the Young Academy of the Royal Dutch Academy of Science. In February 2012, she was appointed professor of molecular cardiovascular cell biology at the University of Leiden, which she accepted with her inaugural lecture entitled “hart voor de wetenschap” on November 2nd 2012.

Prizes and honourable appointments

  • 2004: Bekalis award for young scientists
  • 2004: VIDI ZonMW, Career Development Awardee
  • 2009: Member of the young academy of science of the royal Dutch academy of art and science

Professor Molecular Cardiovascular Cell Biology

  • Faculteit Geneeskunde
  • Divisie 4
  • Cel en Chemische biologie

Work address

LUMC Main Building
Albinusdreef 2
2333 ZA Leiden
Room number S1-P


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