Professional Health Care Partners

Welcome to the website of Atrial Fibrillation Innovation Platform (AFIP), founded by Prof. Dr. B. Brundel and Prof. Dr. N. de Groot. We organize a variety of (inter)national research projects on atrial fibrillation (AF). Our research projects are aimed at unraveling the pathophysiology of AF, development of innovative diagnostic tools to determine the stage of AF and discovery of novel AF (drug) therapies.

Who we are and publications

Find out about Prof. Dr. Bianca Brundel and Dr. Natasja de Groot and their work.


Prof. Dr. Bianca Brundel

Brundel is a molecular and cellular biologist at VU Medical Center in Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Role of protein homeostasis and the protein quality control system underlying atrial fibrillation.

Bianca Brundel received her PhD from the University Medical Center Groningen, The Netherlands and was trained in molecular and cellular biology (VU, Amsterdam) and clinical pharmacology (UMCG). Bianca is professor at the physiology department at the VU University Medical Center Amsterdam. Her research is focused on the molecular mechanisms driving proteostasis derailment and pathophysiology of cardiac diseases, including atrial fibrillation and cardiomyopathies. Molecular findings are used to identify novel druggable targets. Her laboratory utilizes experimental cardiomyocyte and Drosophila cardiac disease models in combination with genetic and pharmacological manipulations. She is established investigator, funded by the Dutch Heart Foundation and project leader of translational research projects, including HALT&REVERSE (LSH-health and DHF) and AFFIP (CVON) and DOSIS (CVON, together with Prof. Dr. Jolanda van der Velden). Furthermore, together with Dr. Natasja de Groot, she founded the Atrial Fibrillation Innovation Platform to promote translational studies in collaboration with patients. As such, she contributed to forwarding candidate drugs into (pre-)clinical proof-of-principle studies.

View Prof. Dr. Bianca Brundel’s publications here.

  1. Wiersma M, Meijering RAM, Qi XY, Zhang D, Liu T, Hoogstra-Berends F, Sibon OCM, Henning RH, Nattel S, Brundel BJJM. Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress Is Associated With Autophagy and Cardiomyocyte Remodeling in Experimental and Human Atrial Fibrillation. J Am Heart Assoc. 2017 Oct 24;6(10). pii: e006458. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.117.006458. PMID: 29066441
  2. Lanters EAH, Yaksh A, Teuwen CP, van der Does LJME, Kik C, Knops P, van Marion DMS, Brundel BJJM, Bogers AJJC, Allessie MA, de Groot NMS. Spatial distribution of conduction disorders during sinus rhythm. Int J Cardiol. 2017 Dec 15;249:220-225. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2017.08.067. PMID: 28888481
  3. Henning RH, Brundel BJJM. Proteostasis in cardiac health and disease. Nat Rev Cardiol. 2017 Nov;14(11):637-653. doi: 10.1038/nrcardio.2017.89.  PMID: 28660894
  4. Nolte IM, Munoz ML, Brundel BJJM, Heckbert SR, Whitsel EA, den Hoed M, Snieder H, de Geus EJC. Genetic loci associated with heart rate variability and their effects on cardiac disease risk. Nat Commun. 2017 Jun 14;8:15805. doi: 10.1038/ncomms15805. PMID: 28613276 Free PMC Article
  5. Hu X, Van Marion DMS, Wiersma M, Zhang D, Brundel BJJM. The protective role of small heat shock proteins in cardiac diseases: key role in atrial fibrillation. Cell Stress Chaperones. 2017 Jul;22(4):665-674. doi: 10.1007/s12192-017-0799-4. PMID: 28484965
  6. Carra S, Alberti S, Arrigo PA, Benesch JL, Benjamin IJ, Boelens W, Bartelt-Kirbach B, Brundel BJJM, Buchner J, Bukau B, Carver JA, Ecroyd H, Emanuelsson C, Finet S, Golenhofen N, Goloubinoff P, Gusev N, Haslbeck M, Hightower LE, Kampinga HH, Klevit RE, Liberek K, Mchaourab HS, McMenimen KA, Poletti A, Quinlan R, Strelkov SV, Toth ME, Vierling E, Tanguay RM. The growing world of small heat shock proteins: from structure to functions. Cell Stress Chaperones. 2017 Jul;22(4):601-611. doi: 10.1007/s12192-017-0787-8. PMID: 28364346

Prof. Dr. Natasja MS de Groot

De Groot is a cardiologist at Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Natasja de Groot is a cardiologist-electrophysiologist and professor working at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam. 

She was trained at both the Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht
and the Leiden University Medical Center, where she received her PhD.
She is experienced with a variety of mapping/ablation technologies
including remote magnetic navigation, remote robotic navigation, and a
diversity of electro-anatomical mapping techniques. Main foci of her clinical
work include catheter ablation of complex tachyarrhythmias in patients with
congenital heart disease and therapy of cardiac arrhythmias in pediatric

She is program director of the research program translational
electrophysiology and chief of the unit translational electrophysiology of the
department of cardiology. She is principal investigator of the Erasmus Atrial
Fibrillation Academic Center and Medical Delta Cardiac Arrhythmia Lab.
She has been involved in writing various international guidelines of the
European Society of Cardiology, European Heart Rhythm Association and
Heart Rhythm Society and she is an active EHRA Board/committee
member since 2009. She is also president of the committee project group
Dutch AF Guidelines 2018. She is reviewer and abstract grader of a variety
of international journals and congresses.

Her research projects are aimed at unravelling the pathophysiology of
complex cardiac tachyarrhythmias, particularly atrial fibrillation and
tachyarrhythmias in patients with congenital heart disease. For this
purpose, she has developed a unique way of analyzing cardiac signals and
cardiac mapping procedures. Her research program was in 2018 rewarded
with the prestigious VIDI-grant
Together with prof. Dr. B. Brundel, she is director and co-founder of the
Atrial Fibrillation Innovation Platform (AFIP).

View Dr. Natasja MS de Groot’s publications here.

  1. Mouws EMJP, Lanters EAH, Teuwen CP, van der Does LJME, Kik C, Knops P, Bekkers JA, Bogers AJJC, de Groot NMS. Epicardial Breakthrough Waves During Sinus Rhythm: Depiction of the Arrhythmogenic Substrate? Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol. 2017.
  2. Mouws EMJP, de Groot NMS. Atrial Tachyarrhythmia in Congenital Heart Disease: Beyond the Suture Lines. Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol. 2017.
  3. Lanters EAH, Yaksh A, Teuwen CP, van der Does LJME, Kik C, Knops P, de Groot NMS.  Spatial distribution of conduction disorders during sinus rhythm. Int J Cardiol. 2017.
  4. Lanters EAH, Coenen A, Lubbers MM, Nieman K, de Groot NMS. Aberrant coronary artery spasms cause ST-T segment depression during endovascular ablation of atrial flutter. Clin Case Rep. 2017 Jun 21;5(8):1252-1254.
  5. 2017 HRS/EHRA/ECAS/APHRS/SOLAECE Expert Consensus Statement on Catheter and Surgical Ablation of Atrial Fibrillation: Executive Summary. JICE 2017;1-55.
  6. 2017 HRS/EHRA/ECAS/APHRS/SOLAECE Expert Consensus Statement on Catheter and Surgical Ablation of Atrial Fibrillation: Executive Summary. J Arrhythm 2017;33:369-409.
  7. 2017 HRS/EHRA/ECAS/APHRS/SOLAECE Expert Consensus Statement on Catheter and Surgical Ablation of Atrial Fibrillation. Heart Rhythm, 2017;275-444.
  8. Ragab AAY, Houck CA, van der Does LJME, Lanters EAH, de Groot NMS. Impact of supraventricular tachyarrhythmia in patients with inherited cardiac arrhythmia. Am J of Cardiol, 2017.
  9. de Groot NMS, Bogers AJJC. Development of Tachyarrhythmias Late After the Fontan Procedure: The Role of Ablative Therapy. Card Electrophysiol Clin. 2017 Jun;9(2):273-284.
  10. Kik C, Mouws EMJP, Bogers AJJC, de Groot NMS. Intra-operative mapping of the atria: the first step towards individualization of atrial fibrillation therapy? Expert Rev Cardiovasc Ther. 2017.
  11. van der Does LJME, de Groot NMS.Endo-epicardial breakthrough: A tale of 2 sides. Heart Rhythm. 2017.
  12. Ragab AAY, Houck CA, van der Does LJME, Lanters EAH, Burghouwt DE, Muskens AJQM, de Groot NMS. Usefulness of the R-Wave Sign as a Predictor for Ventricular Tachyarrhythmia in Patients With Brugada Syndrome. Am J of Cardiol, 2017.
  13. van der Does LJ, de Groot NM. Inhomogeneity and complexity in defining fractionated electrograms. Heart Rhythm. 2017 Apr;14(4):616-624.
  14. Mouws EMJP, Roos-Hesselink JW, Bogers AJJC, de Groot NMS. Coexistence of tachyarrhythmias in patients with tetralogy of Fallot. Heart Rhythm Journal, 2017.
  15. Kik C, Mouws, EMJP, Bogers AJ, de Groot NM. Intra-operative mapping of the atria: the first step towards individualization of atrial fibrillation therapy. Expert review of cardiovascular therapy, 2017;15(7);537-545.
  16. Houck CA, Ramdjan TT, Yaksh A, Teuwen CP, Lanters EA, Bogers AJ, de Groot NM. Intraoperative Arrhythmias in Children with Congenital Heart Disease: Transient, Innocent Events? Europace, 2017, accepted.
  17. Houck CA, Evertz R, Teuwen CP, Roos-Hesselink JW, Duijnhouwer T, Bogers AJJC, de Groot NMS. Time course and interrelationship of dysrhythmias in patients with surgically repaired atrial septal defect. J Cardiol 2017;70L263-270.
  18. Yaksh A, Kik C, Knops P, van Ettinger MJ, Bogers AJ, de Groot NM. Early, de novo atrial fibrillation after coronary artery bypass grafting: Facts and features. Am Heart J. 2017 Feb;184:62-70.
  19. Mouws EM, Yaksh A, Knops P, Kik C, Boersma E, Bogers AJ, de Groot NM. Early ventricular tachyarrhythmias after coronary artery bypass grafting surgery: Is it a real burden? J Cardiol. 2017 Jan 6. 914-5087(16)30342-2.
  20. Vogels RJ*, Teuwen CP*, Ramdjan TT, Evertz R, Knops P, Witsenburg M, Roos-Hesselink JW, Bogers AJ, de Groot NM. Usefulnes of Fragmented QRS Complexes in Patients with Congenital Heart Disease to Predict Ventricular Tachyarrhythmia. Am J Cardiol, 2017; 1;119(1):126-131.
  21. van der Does JME, de Groot NM. The inhomogeneity and complexity in defining fractionated electrograms. Heart Rhythm 2017.
  22. Van der Does JME, Kik C, Allessie MA, de Groot NMS. Endo-epicardial dissociation in conduction. Eur Heart J. 2017.

Innovative Atrial Fibrillation Research Technologies

For this purpose, we have created a unique cardiac mapping technology, and various experimental model systems to mimic clinical AF.

Scientific Contributions

Examples of our scientific contributions include:

1. Discovery of the key elements of the arrhythmogenic substrate underlying AF;

2. Electrical endo-epicardial asynchrony as a cause for persistence of AF;

3. Introduction of endovascular mapping approaches guiding ablative therapy of atrial achyarrhythmias in patients with congenital heart disease;

4. Analysis of the time course of AF in patients with congenital heart disease;

5. Development of a novel, intra- operative epicardial mapping approaches to identify electropathology;

6. Discovery of heat shock protein-inducing compounds to prevent AF progression;

7. Key role for HDAC6 activation in structural and electrical remodeling;

8. Endoplasmic reticulum stress underlies AF onset and progression;

9. Identification of various marketed drugs, including GGA, 4PBA, which protect the heart against AF;

10. Characterization of changes in Protein Quality Control system and proteostasis which underlie electropathology and AF progression.

Our Research Partners

Our Research Partners include:


Prof. Dr. Stanley Nattel

Montréal Heart Institute

Prof. Dr. Jolanda van der Velden

Department of Physiology (VUmc)


Emeritus Prof. Dr. Maurits Allessie

Physiology (Maastricht UMC+)

Prof. Dr. Alle-Jan van der Veen

Delft University


Prof. Dr. Wouter Serdijn

Delft University


Dr. Caroline Cheng

Regenerative Medicine Utrecht


Dr. Marco Götte

VU University Medical Center


Dr. Richard Houben

CEO 2BMedical


Mooley Auerbach

SED Biosense Webster

Become a AFIP Sponsor

Deel AFIP met je vrienden