dr. S.W. (Sander) van der Laan

dr. S.W. (Sander) van der Laan

Assistant Professor
dr. S.W. (Sander) van der Laan
  • Department of Clinical Chemistry and Haematology

Research Programs

Circulatory Health



I am an assistant professor at the Central Diagnostics Laboratory which is part of the Circulatory Health Program at the University Medical Center Utrecht and University of Utrecht and work with professor dr. Gerard Pasterkamp and professor dr. Folkert W. Asselbergs. My research interest is focused on the genetic and epigenetic causes of carotid and coronary atherosclerosis underlying ischemic stroke (IS) and coronary artery disease (CAD), and their intermediate traits such as carotid intima media thickness (cIMT) and arterial calcification. Large-scale genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified hundreds of genetic loci robustly associated to these diseases and traits. With my work I ultimately aim to move from GWAS loci to novel therapeutic targets for cardiovascular diseases through extensive in silico, and in vitro modeling.

As a means to this end, I am currently working on integrating Bayesian fine-mapping methodology, co-localization, causal inference through Mendelian Randomization, expression and methylation quantitative trait loci analyses, GWAS, single-cell RNA sequencing, and plaque characterization based on high-throughput imaging of histological slides and machine learning algorithms. This has resulted in the identification of 28 loci with a substrate in plaques that harbor genes potentially causal to atherosclerosis and amenable to therapy. We are currently pursuing several targets in vitro.

My vision is that this holistic approach will identify the truly viable targets to feed the drug developmental pipeline to combat the cardiovascular disease epidemic. This approach is entirely human-centered and does not involved new in vivo experiments.

I actively contributed to the International Stroke Genetics Consortium. In addition, I made some contributions to international consortia, including GENIUS-CHDGIANTGLGCGoDMC, and various other international consortia.

Since 2011 I am a member of the European Atherosclerosis Society, European Society of Human Genetics, and American Society of Human Genetics. Since 2012 I am a member of the Nederlands Verenging voor Humane Genetica. Since 2017 I am a member of the European Society of Cardiology.

I hold a degree in Biology (BSc) and Medical Biology (MSc) from the Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands. I obtained my PhD in 2016 entitled "The genetics of carotid atherosclerosis - Associations with clinical outcome and histological plaque characteristics" under supervision of professor Gerard Pasterkamp, professor Paul I.W. de Bakker, and doctor Jessica van Setten.

This work is covered through various (inter)national collaborative grant programs: CVON-GENIUS2 funded by the Dutch Heart Foundation (DHF, grant-number: CVON 2017-20), ERA-CVD ‘druggable-MI-targets’ in part funded by the DHF (grant-number: JTC2017-40-2017T096), H2020 'TO_AITION', and Leducq Fondation (PlaqOmics).

Fellowship and Awards

I applied and received the following grants.

2019-09 to 2020-09SIG “DEEP-ENIGMA” | € 5,000.- | Collaborative Grant together with dr. D. Hessen, and dr. A. Bagheri.

2019-09 to 2020-09SIG “ELSIE” | in kind | Collaborative Grant together with professor dr. Aletta D. Kraneveld, professor dr. D. Oberski, and A. López-Rincón.

2019-05 to 2020-05SIG “CONVOCALS” | € 5,000.- | Collaborative Grant together with dr. A. Bagheri, and T. van de Kerkhof.

2020-01 to 2025-01: H2020 (EU) "TO_AITION" | € 473,750.- | Collaborative Grant together with professor dr. G. Pasterkamp, dr. M. Mokry, and dr. I. Höfer.

2017-09 to 2019-09: ERA-CVD JCT 2017 (EU; JTC2017-40-2017T096) “druggable-MI-genes” | € 250,000.- | Collaborative Grant together with professor dr. Folkert W. Asselbergs.

2015-06 to 2015-06: Jaap Schouten Foundation (Rotterdam, Rotterdam, Netherlands) “Travel Grant” | € 1,500.- | European Society of Human Genetics Conference 2015.

2013-2014: BBMRI-NL (Leiden, Netherlands) “Genotyping of the Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm-Express Biobank Study” | € 50,000.- | Grant number: CP2013-63.

Research Output (60)

Monocyte-chemoattractant protein-1 levels in human atherosclerotic lesions associate with plaque vulnerability

Georgakis Marios K., van der Laan Sander W., Asare Yaw, Mekke Joost M., Haitjema Saskia, Schoneveld Arjan H., de Jager Saskia C.A., Nurmohamed Nick S., Kroon Jeffrey, Stroes Erik S.G., de Kleijn Dominique P.V., de Borst Gert J., Maegdefessel Lars, Soehnlein Oliver, Pasterkamp Gerard, Dichgans Martin 8 apr 2021, In: Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. 41 , p. 2038-2048 11 p.

The hypoxia-sensor carbonic anhydrase IX affects macrophage metabolism, but is not a suitable biomarker for human cardiovascular disease

Demandt J A F, Dubois L J, van Kuijk K, Zaťovičová M, Jin H, Parkkila S, van der Laan S W, Jelenska L, Mees B M E, Reutelingsperger C P M, Cleutjens K B J M, van der Kallen C J H, Schalkwijk C G, van Greevenbroek M M J, Biessen E A L, Pasterkamp G, Pastoreková S, Stehouwer C D A, Sluimer J C 11 jan 2021, In: Scientific Reports. 11 14 p.

Functional investigation of the coronary artery disease gene SVEP1

Winkler Michael J, Müller Philipp, Sharifi Amin M, Wobst Jana, Winter Hanna, Mokry Michal, Ma Lijiang, van der Laan Sander W, Pang Shichao, Miritsch Benedikt, Hinterdobler Julia, Werner Julia, Stiller Barbara, Güldener Ulrich, Webb Tom R, Asselbergs Folkert W, Björkegren Johan L M, Maegdefessel Lars, Schunkert Heribert, Sager Hendrik B, Kessler Thorsten dec 2020, In: Basic Research in Cardiology. 115 , p. 1-15

Genetic Regulation of Atherosclerosis-Relevant Phenotypes in Human Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells

Aherrahrou Rédouane, Guo Liang, Nagraj Vijay Peter, Aguhob Aaron Andrew, Hinkle Jameson, Chen Lisa, Soh Joon Yuhl, Lue Dillon, Alencar Gabriel F, Boltjes Arjan, van der Laan Sander W, Farber Emily, Fuller Daniela, Anane-Wae Rita, Akingbesote Ngozi D, Manichaikul Ani W, Ma Lijiang, Kaikkonen Minna U, Björkegren Johan Lm, Onengut-Gumuscu Suna, Pasterkamp Gerard, Miller Clint L, Owens Gary K, Finn Aloke V, Navab Mohamad, Fogelman Alan M, Berliner Judith A, Civelek Mete 12 okt 2020, In: Circulation research. 127 , p. 1552-1565 14 p.

Microanatomy of the Human Atherosclerotic Plaque by Single-Cell Transcriptomics

Depuydt Marie Ac, Prange Koen Hm, Slenders Lotte, Örd Tiit, Elbersen Danny, Boltjes Arjan, de Jager Saskia Ca, Asselbergs Folkert W, de Borst Gert J, Aavik Einari, Lönnberg Tapio, Lutgens Esther, Glass Christopher K, den Ruijter Hester M, Kaikkonen Minna U, Bot Ilze, Slütter Bram, van der Laan Sander W, Yla-Herttuala Seppo, Mokry Michal, Kuiper Johan, de Winther Menno Pj, Pasterkamp Gerard 28 sep 2020, In: Circulation research. 127 , p. 1437-1455 19 p.

Alternate approach to stroke phenotyping identifies a genetic risk locus for small vessel stroke

von Berg Joanna, van der Laan Sander W, McArdle Patrick F, Malik Rainer, Kittner Steven J, Mitchell Braxton D, Worrall Bradford B, de Ridder Jeroen, Pulit Sara L 11 feb 2020, In: European Journal of Human Genetics. 28 , p. 963-972 10 p.

Beyond GWAS in Atrial Fibrillation Genetics

van der Laan Sander W, Asselbergs Folkert W 31 jan 2020, In: Circulation research. 126 , p. 361-363 3 p.

PCSK6 Is a Key Protease in the Control of Smooth Muscle Cell Function in Vascular Remodeling

Rykaczewska Urszula, Suur Bianca E, Röhl Samuel, Razuvaev Anton, Lengquist Mariette, Sabater-Lleal Maria, van der Laan Sander W, Miller Clint L, Wirka Robert C, Kronqvist Malin, Gonzalez Diez Maria, Vesterlund Mattias, Gillgren Peter, Odeberg Jacob, Lindeman Jan Hn, Veglia Fabrizio, Humphries Steve E, de Faire Ulf, Baldassarre Damiano, Tremoli Elena, Lehtiö Janne, Hansson Göran K, Paulsson-Berne Gabrielle, Pasterkamp Gerard, Quertermous Thomas, Hamsten Anders, Eriksson Per, Hedin Ulf, Matic Ljubica 2 jan 2020, In: Circulation research. 126 , p. 571-585 15 p.

Family history and polygenic risk of cardiovascular disease:Independent factors associated with secondary cardiovascular events in patients undergoing carotid endarterectomy

Timmerman Nathalie, de Kleijn Dominique P.V., de Borst Gert J., den Ruijter Hester M., Asselbergs Folkert W., Pasterkamp Gerard, Haitjema Saskia, van der Laan Sander W. 1 jan 2020, In: Atherosclerosis. 307 , p. 121-129 9 p.

All research output

Thank you for your review!

Has this information helped you?

Please tell us why, so that we can improve our website.

Working at UMC Utrecht





Practical maakt gebruik van cookies

Deze website maakt gebruik van cookies Deze website toont video’s van o.a. YouTube. Dergelijke partijen plaatsen cookies (third party cookies). Als u deze cookies niet wilt kunt u dat hier aangeven. Wij plaatsen zelf ook cookies om onze site te verbeteren.

Lees meer over het cookiebeleid

Akkoord Nee, liever niet