PhD candidate Department of Cardiology

Updated: 4 months ago
Job Type: Temporary
Deadline: 08 May 2022

Atrial fibrillation (AF) and heart failure are prevalent cardiovascular diseases that cause high symptom burden and health care expenditure. It is becoming increasingly clear that atrial failure, like ventricular failure, poses risk for occurrence of AF and heart failure. Atrial failure is defined as an impairment of atrial function and associated with changes in structure, contractility, and electrical atrial properties. The interplay between atrial failure, AF, and heart failure can cause a vicious circle, further limiting atrial function and causing a downward spiral. Furthermore, it is expected that the atrial function determines the success of AF catheter ablation (i.e., the electrophysiological procedure aiming to block the stimuli that trigger AF episodes). However, despite the increasing evidence of its clinical relevance, it is unclear how atrial failure should be diagnosed and classified.

During this 4-year PhD project you will join our high-profile interdisciplinary research team and work closely with other scientists within the experimental and clinical divisions of our department. You will use advanced imaging techniques (such as CT and MRI) to investigate structural and functional properties of the atria, with the ultimate goal to improve detection of atrial failure. You will investigate how atrial failure is related to arrhythmia burden, patient symptoms, and quality of life. Furthermore, you will investigate the effect of atrial failure on outcomes after AF catheter ablation, as well as the effect of ablation on atrial function. As such, your work will significantly contribute to optimization of integrated patient management and personalized treatment approaches.

Besides working in an inspiring environment, you will have the opportunity to participate in a wide range of courses, workshops, and seminars to improve your clinical and research skills. The Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht (CARIM) is a world-renowned research institute in the field of cardiac arrhythmias and heart failure. After a successful PhD trajectory, candidates (with a Dutch MD license) will be offered to apply for the Cardiology training program in the Maastricht University Medical Centre+ (MUMC+). The city of Maastricht is a beautiful historic and characteristic city that offers good housing options and excellent quality of life.

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