Professional Health Care Partners

Welcome to the website of Atrial Fibrillation Innovation Platform (AFIP), founded by Prof. Dr. B. Brundel and 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.

R.H. Henning and B.J.J.M. Brundel: Proteostasis in cardiac health and disease. Nature Reviews Cardiology, 2017 in press

Hu, D.M.S. van Marion, M. Wiersma, D. Zhang, B.J.J.M. Brundel. The protective role of small heat shock proteins in cardiac diseases: key role in atrial fibrillation. Cell Stress Chaperones, 2017. PMID: 28484965.

Zhang, X. Hu, R.H. Henning, B.J.J.M. Brundel. Keeping up the balance: role of HDACs in cardiac proteostasis and therapeutic implications for atrial fibrillation. Cardiovascular Research, 2016. PMID: 26645980

Zhang, C.T. Wu, X. Qi, R.A.M. Meijering, F. Hoogstra-Berends, A. Tadevosyan, G. Cubukcuoglu Deniz, S. Durdu, A.R. Akar, O.C.M. Sibon, S. Nattel, R.H. Henning, B.J.J.M. Brundel. Activation of histone deacetylase-6 induces contractile dysfunction through derailment of α-tubulin proteostasis in experimental and human atrial fibrillation. Circulation, 2014. PMID: 24146251

den Hoed, M. Eijgelsheim, T. Esko T, B.J.J.M. Brundel. Identification of heart rate-associated loci and their effects on cardiac conduction and rhythm disorders. Nature Genetics, 2013. PMID: 23583979


Dr. Natasja MS de Groot

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

Translational Electrophysiology; Diagnosis and Therapy of Complex Tachycardias: from Signal to Substrate.

Natasja de Groot is a cardiologist-electrophysiologist and associated 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: 1) catheter ablation of complex tachyarrhythmias in patients with congenital heart disease, 2) catheter ablation in pediatric patients. She is principal investigator of the Erasmus Atrial Fibrillation Academic Center and program director of the research program translational electrophysiology. 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 has been an EHRA Board member (2015-2017). Together with prof. Dr. B. Brundel she is director and co-founder of the Atrial Fibrillation Innovation Platform (AFIP).

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 analysing cardiac signals and cardiac mapping procedures.

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

de Groot, NMS, van der Does LJ, Yaksh A, Lanters EA, Teuwen CP, Knops P, van de Woestijne PC, Bekkers JA, Kik C, Bogers AJ, Allessie MA. Direct Proof of Endo-Epicardial Asynchrony of the Atrial Wall During Atrial Fibrillation in Humans. Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol., 2016.

de Groot NMS, Houben RPM, Schotten U, Smeets JL, Schalij MJ, Crijns HJ, Allessie MA. The Electro Pathological Substrate of Longstanding Persistent Atrial Fibrillation in Patients with Structural Heart Disease: 2) Epicardial Breakthrough. Circulation, 2010;122:1674-82.

Allessie MA, de Groot NMS, Houben RPM, Schotten U, Smeets JL, Crijns HJ. The ElectroPathological Substrate of Longstanding Persistent Atrial Fibrillation in Patients with Structural Heart Disease: 1) Longitudinal Dissociation. Circulation, Arrhythm Electrophysiol. 2010; 606-615.

Teuwen CP, Yaksh A, Lanter EA, Kik C, van der Does LJ, Knops P, Taverne YJ, van de Woestijne PC, Oei FB, Bekkers JA, Bogers AJ, Allessie MA, De Groot NM. Relevance of Conduction Disorders in Bachmann’s Bundle During Sinus Rhythm in Humans. Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol. 2016.

van der Does LJ, Yaksh A, Kik C, Oei F, van de Woestijne P, Knops P, Lanters EA, Teuwen CP, Bogers AJ, Allessie MA, de Groot NM. QUest for the Arrhythmogenic Substrate of Atrial fibRillation in patients undergoing cardiac surgery (QUASAR study): rationale and design, J Cardiovasc Transl Res. 2016;9(3):194-201.

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

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