Dutch Atherosclerosis Society

Prof. dr. E.A.L. Biessen 

Present work address:
Maastricht University Medical Center
Experimental Vascular Pathology group
Department of Pathology
P. Debyelaan 25
6229 HX Maastricht
The Netherlands

Nationality: Dutch

Short biography

Erik Biessen graduated in Groningen University on Biophysical Chemistry in 1989. In the same year he joined the Division of Biopharmaceutics of Leiden University (Prof Dr Th.J.C. Van Berkel) as a post-doctoral fellow. In 1994 he was elected for a career development track of the Netherlands Heart Foundation (Molecular Cardiology Program) to become Established Investigator of this program in 2001. He received an innovational research incentive premium of the N.W.O in 2001 and acquired a second Established Investigatorship of the Taskforce Cardiovascular Genomics (NHS) in 2004. Dr Biessen was appointed Professor in Therapeutic Gene Modulation at Leiden University in 2005. Since 2007 he is heading the Experimental Vascular Pathology group of CARIM (UM). Dr Biessen participates in the European Vascular Genomics Network of KP6 and is a regular reviewer of Journal of Clinical Investigation, Circulation, Circulation Research, and Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology. He has authored more than 95 papers in peer reviewed journals and is holder of >10 patent applications.


Major Research Interest

1. Plaque vulnerability in atherosclerotic disease
2. Leukocyte dynamics and perivascular inflammation in vulnerable plaque formation


Scientific Committees:

Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the 7th Annual meeting of the Scandinavian Society for Atheroslerosis Research in Humleback, Denmark, 2003 and 2009

Steering committee member of Unyphar Research Program between Dutch universities and Yamanouchi Japan (2000-2005)

Task force committee member of the European Vascular Genomics Network (2004-2005)

Coordinator of Theme-II of the Inter-university HST network (Universities of Leiden, Delft and Rotterdam) on targeted imaging

Co-organiser and chairman of EVGN Workpackage 8 meeting in Hamburg (September 28-30, 2005)

Organizing committee member of the 3rd annual EVGN symposium in Toulouse, France. (December, 11-14, 2006)

Organizer of the EVGN workshop on “Animal models for plaque instability” Bristol, UK (September 16, 2007)

Organizer of the KNAW colloquium on “Plaque instability: from molecular regulation to diagnosis and therapy”, Amsterdam (September 27-29, 2007).

Member organizing committee of the 6th Dutch German Joint meeting of Molecular Cardiology groups, Amsterdam (February 7-9, 2008).

Board member of the Dutch Atherosclerosis Society (2007)


Key publications 2002-2007:

1. J.H. Von der Thüsen, B.M. Van Vlijmen, M.M. Kockx, L.M. Havekes, Th.J.C. Van Berkel and E.A.L. Biessen (2002) Plaque destabilisation and rupture after p53-induced elimination of cap smooth muscle cells. Circulation 105: 2064-2070.

2. T.J.M. Molenaar, C.C.M. Appeldoorn, S.A.M. De Haas, I.N. Michon, A. Bonnefoy, M.F. Hoylaerts, H. Pannekoek, Th.J.C. Van Berkel, J. Kuiper, and E.A.L. Biessen (2002) Specific inhibition of P-selectin mediated cell adhesion by phage display derived peptide antagonists. Blood 100: 3570-3577. (+comment)

3. J.H. Von der Thüsen, J. Kuiper, Th.J.C. Van Berkel and E.A.L. Biessen (2003) Interleukins in atherosclerosis: molecular pathways and therapeutic potential. Pharmacological Reviews 55: 133-166.

4. I. Bot, J. H. von der Thüsen, M.M.P.C. Donners, A. Lucas, Th.J.C. van Berkel, J. Kuiper, S. Heeneman and E.A.L. Biessen (2003) The Serine Protease Inhibitor Serp-1 Strongly Impairs De Novo Atherosclerotic Lesion Formation in ApoE-/- Mice. Circulation Research 93: 464 - 471.

5. J.H. Von der Thüsen, M.L. Fekkes, R. Passier, A.J. Van Zonneveld, V. Mainfroid, Th.J.C. Van Berkel and E.A.L. Biessen (2004) Adenoviral transfer of endothelial nitric oxide synthase attenuates lesion formation in a novel model of post-angioplasty restenosis. Arterioscl.Thromb.Vasc. Biol. 24: 357-362

6. De Nooijer R, von der Thusen JH, Verkleij CJ, Kuiper J, Jukema JW, van der Wall EE, van Berkel TJ, Biessen EA.L. (2004) Overexpression of IL-18 Decreases Intimal Collagen Content and Promotes a Vulnerable Plaque Phenotype in Apolipoprotein-E-Deficient Mice. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 24:2313-2319

7. C.C.M. Appeldoorn, A. Bonnefoy, B. Lutters, K. Daenens, Th.J.C. Van Berkel, M.F. Hoylaerts, and E.A.L. Biessen (2005). Gallic acid antagonizes P-selectin function: implications for the French Paradox. Circulation 111: 106-112 (+highlight)

8. A. Zernecke, A. Schober, I. Bot, Ph. Von Hundelshausen, E.A.. Liehn, B. Moepps, M. Mericskay, Peter Gierschik, E.A.L. Biessen and C. Weber (2005). The stromal cell-derived factor-1alpha/CXCR4 axis is instrumental in neointimal hyperplasia and recruitment of a distinct smooth muscle cell progenitor subset after arterial injury Circulation Research 96:784-791

9. I.Bot, J. Chen, M. Van Eck., P.J. Van Santbrink, R.B. Hildebrand, J. Seppen, Th.J.C. Van Berkel, and E.A.L. Biessen (2005). In vivo silencing of CCR2 by lentiviral transfer of short hairpin RNA to bone marrow cells leads to a persistent knockdown of CCR2 function Blood 106: 1147-1153 (plenary paper+comment)

10. P.C.N. Rensen, L.J.A.M. Sliedregt, P.J. van Santbrink, M. Ferns, H.N.J. Schifferstein, S.H. van Leeuwen, J. H.M. Souverijn, Th.J.C. Van Berkel and E.A.L. Biessen (2006) Stimulation of liver-directed cholesterol flux in mice by novel N-acetylgalactosamine terminated glycolipids with high affinity for the asialoglycoprotein receptor Arterioscler. Thromb. Vasc. Biol. 26: 169-275

11. J. Snoeys, G. Mertens, J. Lievens, Th.J.C. van Berkel, D. Collen, E.A.L. Biessen, B. De Geest (2006) Lipid emulsions potently increase transgene expression in hepatocytes after adenoviral transfer. Molecular Therapy 13:98-107

12. De Nooijer C.J.N., Verkleij, J. H. von der Thüsen, J.W. Jukema, E.E. van der Wall, Th.J.C. van Berkel, A.H. Baker, and E.A.L. Biessen (2006) Lesional Overexpression of Matrix Metalloproteinase-9 has a Differential Effect in Various Stages of Atherosclerotic Plaque Development Arterioscler. Thromb. Vasc. Biol. 26: 340-346

13. H. Yu, K.M. Sliedrecht-Bol, H.S. Overkleeft, G.A. van der Marel, Th.J.C. van Berkel, and E.A.L. Biessen, (2006) Therapeutic Potential of a Synthetic Peptide Inhibitor of NFAT as Anti-restenotic Agent. Arterioscler. Thromb. Vasc. Biol. 26:1531-1537.

14. M. Lucerna, A. Zernecke, C.J.N. de Nooijer, S De Jager, I Bot, C. van der Lans, Th.J.C. Van Berkel, C. Weber, E.A.L. Biessen (2007) Vascular endothelial growth factor-A induces plaque expansion in ApoE knockout mice by promoting de novo leukocyte recruitment. Blood 109:122-129 (+editorial)

15. J.R. Nofer, M. Bot, M. Brodde, Th.J.C. van Berkel, G. Assmann, E.A.L. Biessen (2007) FTY720, a synthetic sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) analogue, inhibits development of atherosclerosis in LDL receptor-deficient mice. Circulation 115: 501 - 508

16. I.Bot, S.C.A. de Jager, B.H.C. Lutters, Th.J.C. van Berkel, and E.A.L. Biessen (2007) Adventitial mast cell degranulation causes massive intraplaque haemorhage in carotid arteries of ApoE-/- mice. Circulation 115: 2516-2525 (+editorial)

17. R. Krohn, U Raffetseder, I Bot, A. Zernecke, E. Shagdarsuren, E.A. Liehn, P.J. van Santbrink, P.J. Nelson, E.A.L. Biessen, P.R. Mertens, C. Weber (equally contributing authors) (2007). Y-Box Binding Protein-1 Controls CC Chemokine Ligand-5 (CCL5) Expression in Smooth Muscle Cells and Contributes to Neointima Formation in Atherosclerosis-Prone Mice. Circulation 116: 1812 - 1820

18. A.O. Kraaijeveld, S.C.A. De Jager, W.J. De Jager, B.J. Prakken, S.R. McColl, I. Haspels , H. Putter, Th.J.C. Van Berkel, L. Nagelkerke, J.W. Jukema, and E.A.L. Biessen (2007) CCL5 (RANTES) and CCL18 (PARC) are specific markers of refractory unstable angina pectoris and transiently raised during severe ischemic symptoms Circulation 116: 116(17):1931-1941