Daniël Pijnappels is associate professor and heading the Laboratory of Experimental Cardiology.
He received his PhD with honors from Leiden University in 2009 and is specialized in cardiac electrophysiology, atrial & ventricular arrhythmias and synthetic biomedicine (i.e. the creation of novel biology for therapeutic purposes). One of the main aims of his group is to develop biological therapies for cardiac diseases, in particular cardiac arrhythmias, allowing the heart itself to detect and neutralize physiological disturbances. Here, cardiac optogenetics, i.e. forced expression of light-sensitive proteins and their subsequent activation by light to modulate cardiac function at unmatched spatiotemporal resolution, is one of the key means of investigation. Also, different models of cardiomyogenic differentiation are used to investigate how excitability and intercellular electrical communication is established and (dys)regulated in order to use these insights for synthetic biomedical purposes, i.e. generative medicine.
Since his appointment in early 2011, the lab has been reorganized and restyled, and the focus of research has shifted mainly onto cardiac arrhythmias and synthetic biomedicine. He has received personal funding from the ERC (2015 StG), ZonMw (2010 Veni, 2013 Vidi), the Dutch Heart Foundation, KNAW and Ammodo.
To address the aims as stated above, the lab houses an international team (>10 different nationalities since 2011) that combines various aspects of (synthetic) biology, mathematics, engineering and medicine. As a result, the research projects have both a strong multidisciplinary and translational focus. Also, different national and international collaborations have been established to maintain and further increase the multidisciplinary nature of these projects.
For more info about how to contact Dr. Pijnappels, please visit the contact page.