Natalija Bogunovic, PhD

Natalija Bogunovic is specialized in cardiovascular transcriptional regulation and 3D disease modeling.

After completing her Master’s degree in Experimental Physiology at the University of Belgrade in Belgrade, Serbia, Natalija relocated to Amsterdam to start her PhD in a collaboration between the departments of Vascular Surgery, Physiology and Clinical Genetics at the VUmc. Here she investigated the role of aortic smooth muscle cell dysfunction in the pathophysiology of aortic aneurysms by developing new models and methods to study smooth muscle cell impairment. She developed a new method to transdifferentiate skin cells into smooth muscle cells and a 3D co-culture model to study the interaction of smooth muscle cells and endothelial cells with the extracellular matrix in a in vitro model of aortic aneurysm. She also developed a new method to measure smooth muscle cell contraction and discovered a subgroup of patients with impaired smooth muscle cell contraction, associated with smoking.

She obtained a personal grant from the Amsterdam cardiovascular Sciences (ACS) institute to develop her own research line as a postdoctoral researcher. Shifting focus from the dysfunction of smooth muscle cells to the regulatory mechanisms behind it, she studied transcriptional regulation and gene expression patterns.

Natalija joined the laboratory of Experimental Cardiology in March 2021, to uncover new ways to regenerate the heart within the RegMed XB cardiovascular moonshot project.