dr. S.W. (Sander) van der Laan

dr. S.W. (Sander) van der Laan

Assistant Professor
dr. S.W. (Sander) van der Laan
  • CDL Research

Research Programs

Circulatory Health



I am an assistant professor at the Central Diagnostics Laboratory which is part of the Circulatory Health Program at the University Medical Center Utrecht and University of Utrecht and work with professor dr. Gerard Pasterkamp and professor dr. Folkert W. Asselbergs. My research interest is focused on the genetic and epigenetic causes of carotid and coronary atherosclerosis underlying ischemic stroke (IS) and coronary artery disease (CAD), and their intermediate traits such as carotid intima media thickness (cIMT) and arterial calcification. Large-scale genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified hundreds of genetic loci robustly associated to these diseases and traits. With my work I ultimately aim to move from GWAS loci to novel therapeutic targets for cardiovascular diseases through extensive in silico, and in vitro modeling.

As a means to this end, I am currently working on integrating Bayesian fine-mapping methodology, co-localization, causal inference through Mendelian Randomization, expression and methylation quantitative trait loci analyses, GWAS, single-cell RNA sequencing, and plaque characterization based on high-throughput imaging of histological slides and machine learning algorithms. This has resulted in the identification of 28 loci with a substrate in plaques that harbor genes potentially causal to atherosclerosis and amenable to therapy. We are currently pursuing several targets in vitro.

My vision is that this holistic approach will identify the truly viable targets to feed the drug developmental pipeline to combat the cardiovascular disease epidemic. This approach is entirely human-centered and does not involved new in vivo experiments.

I actively contributed to the International Stroke Genetics Consortium. In addition, I made some contributions to international consortia, including GENIUS-CHDGIANTGLGCGoDMC, and various other international consortia.

Since 2011 I am (or was) a member of the European Atherosclerosis Society, European Society of Human Genetics, American Society of Human Genetics, the Nederlands Verenging voor Humane Genetica, and the European Society of Cardiology.

I support and promote principles of Open Science by letting values of quality and integrity, science for the benefit of all, fairness, equity, diversity and inclusiveness guide my work. I value transparency, reproducibility, and critique, accountability, responsibility, and collaboration. The Future of Science is Open, as is my Science.

I hold a degree in Biology (BSc) and Medical Biology (MSc) from the Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands. I obtained my PhD in 2016 entitled "The genetics of carotid atherosclerosis - Associations with clinical outcome and histological plaque characteristics" under supervision of professor Gerard Pasterkamp, professor Paul I.W. de Bakker, and doctor Jessica van Setten.

This work is covered through various (inter)national collaborative grant programs: CVON-GENIUS2 funded by the Dutch Heart Foundation (DHF, grant-number: CVON 2017-20), ERA-CVD ‘druggable-MI-targets’ in part funded by the DHF (grant-number: JTC2017-40-2017T096), H2020 'TO_AITION', EWUU-Alliance, HealthHolland-TKI, and Leducq Fondation (PlaqOmics).

Fellowship and Awards

I applied and received the following grants.

2019-09 to 2020-09SIG “DEEP-ENIGMA” | € 5,000.- | Collaborative Grant together with dr. D. Hessen, and dr. A. Bagheri.

2019-09 to 2020-09SIG “ELSIE” | in kind | Collaborative Grant together with professor dr. Aletta D. Kraneveld, professor dr. D. Oberski, and A. López-Rincón.

2019-05 to 2020-05SIG “CONVOCALS” | € 5,000.- | Collaborative Grant together with dr. A. Bagheri, and T. van de Kerkhof.

2020-01 to 2025-01: H2020 (EU) "TO_AITION" | € 473,750.- | Collaborative Grant together with professor dr. G. Pasterkamp, dr. M. Mokry, and dr. I. Höfer.

2017-09 to 2019-09: ERA-CVD JCT 2017 (EU; JTC2017-40-2017T096) “druggable-MI-genes” | € 250,000.- | Collaborative Grant together with professor dr. Folkert W. Asselbergs.

2015-06 to 2015-06: Jaap Schouten Foundation (Rotterdam, Rotterdam, Netherlands) “Travel Grant” | € 1,500.- | European Society of Human Genetics Conference 2015.

2013-2014: BBMRI-NL (Leiden, Netherlands) “Genotyping of the Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm-Express Biobank Study” | € 50,000.- | Grant number: CP2013-63.

Research Output (79)

The FES Gene at the 15q26 Coronary-Artery-Disease Locus Inhibits Atherosclerosis.

Karamanavi Elisavet, McVey David G, van der Laan Sander W, Stanczyk Paulina J, Morris Gavin E, Wang Yifan, Yang Wei, Chan Kenneth, Poston Robin N, Luo Jun, Zhou Xinmiao, Gong Peng, Jones Peter D, Cao Junjun, Kostogrys Renata B, Webb Tom R, Pasterkamp Gerard, Yu Haojie, Xiao Qingzhong, Greer Peter A, Stringer Emma J, Samani Nilesh J, Ye Shu 2 Dec 2022, In: Circulation research. 131 , p. 1004-1017 14 p.

A saturated map of common genetic variants associated with human height

Yengo Loïc, Vedantam Sailaja, Marouli Eirini, Sidorenko Julia, Bartell Eric, Sakaue Saori, Graff Marielisa, Eliasen Anders U, Jiang Yunxuan, Raghavan Sridharan, Miao Jenkai, Arias Joshua D, Graham Sarah E, Mukamel Ronen E, Spracklen Cassandra N, Yin Xianyong, Chen Shyh-Huei, Ferreira Teresa, Highland Heather H, Ji Yingjie, Karaderi Tugce, Lin Kuang, Lüll Kreete, Malden Deborah E, Medina-Gomez Carolina, Machado Moara, Moore Amy, Rüeger Sina, Sim Xueling, Vrieze Scott, Ahluwalia Tarunveer S, Akiyama Masato, Allison Matthew A, Alvarez Marcus, Andersen Mette K, Ani Alireza, Appadurai Vivek, Arbeeva Liubov, Bhaskar Seema, Bielak Lawrence F, Bollepalli Sailalitha, Bonnycastle Lori L, Bork-Jensen Jette, van der Laan Sander W, van Setten Jessica, Asselbergs Folkert W, de Borst Gert J, de Kleijn Dominique P V, Kraaijeveld Adriaan, van der Harst Pim, Oct 2022, In: Nature. 610 , p. 704-712 9 p.

A multi-layer functional genomic analysis to understand noncoding genetic variation in lipids

Ramdas Shweta, Judd Jonathan, Graham Sarah E, Kanoni Stavroula, Wang Yuxuan, Surakka Ida, Wenz Brandon, Clarke Shoa L, Chesi Alessandra, Wells Andrew, Bhatti Konain Fatima, Vedantam Sailaja, Winkler Thomas W, Locke Adam E, Marouli Eirini, Zajac Greg J M, Wu Kuan-Han H, Ntalla Ioanna, Hui Qin, Klarin Derek, Hilliard Austin T, Wang Zeyuan, Xue Chao, Thorleifsson Gudmar, Helgadottir Anna, Gudbjartsson Daniel F, Holm Hilma, Olafsson Isleifur, Hwang Mi Yeong, Han Sohee, Akiyama Masato, Sakaue Saori, Terao Chikashi, Kanai Masahiro, Zhou Wei, Brumpton Ben M, Rasheed Humaira, Havulinna Aki S, Hemerich Daiane, van der Laan Sander W, van Setten Jessica, de Kleijn Dominique, de Borst Gert J, Asselbergs Folkert W, Kraaijeveld Adriaan O, Beulens Joline W J, Pasterkamp Gerard, Hoefer Imo E, van der Harst Pim, Holmes Michael V, 4 Aug 2022, In: American Journal of Human Genetics. 109 , p. 1366-1387 22 p.

PolarMorphism enables discovery of shared genetic variants across multiple traits from GWAS summary statistics

von Berg Joanna, Ten Dam Michelle, van der Laan Sander W, de Ridder Jeroen 24 Jun 2022, In: Bioinformatics (Oxford, England). 38 , p. i212-i219

Associations of Polymorphisms in the Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor Gamma Coactivator-1 Alpha Gene With Subsequent Coronary Heart Disease:An Individual-Level Meta-Analysis

Schillemans Tessa, Tragante Vinicius, Maitusong Buamina, Gigante Bruna, Cresci Sharon, Laguzzi Federica, Vikström Max, Richards Mark, Pilbrow Anna, Cameron Vicky, Foco Luisa, Doughty Robert N, Kuukasjärvi Pekka, Allayee Hooman, Hartiala Jaana A, Tang W H Wilson, Lyytikäinen Leo-Pekka, Nikus Kjell, Laurikka Jari O, Srinivasan Sundararajan, Mordi Ify R, Trompet Stella, Kraaijeveld Adriaan, van Setten Jessica, Gijsberts Crystel M, Maitland-van der Zee Anke H, Saely Christoph H, Gong Yan, Johnson Julie A, Cooper-DeHoff Rhonda M, Pepine Carl J, Casu Gavino, Leiherer Andreas, Drexel Heinz, Horne Benjamin D, van der Laan Sander W, Marziliano Nicola, Hazen Stanley L, Sinisalo Juha, Kähönen Mika, Lehtimäki Terho, Lang Chim C, Burkhardt Ralph, Scholz Markus, Jukema J Wouter, Eriksson Niclas, Åkerblom Axel, James Stefan, Held Claes, Hagström Emil, Spertus John A, Algra Ale, de Faire Ulf, Åkesson Agneta, Asselbergs Folkert W, Patel Riyaz S, Leander Karin 23 Jun 2022, In: Frontiers in Physiology. 13

Genetic variants associated with low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and systolic blood pressure and the risk of recurrent cardiovascular disease in patients with established vascular disease

Groenland Eline H., Heidemann Britt E., van der Laan Sander W., van Setten Jessica, Koopal Charlotte, Bots Michiel L., Asselbergs Folkert W., Visseren Frank L.J., Spiering Wilko, 27 May 2022, In: Atherosclerosis. 350 , p. 102-108 7 p.

Genetic and clinical determinants of abdominal aortic diameter:genome-wide association studies, exome array data and Mendelian randomization study

Portilla-Fernandez Eliana, Klarin Derek, Hwang Shih-Jen, Biggs Mary L, Bis Joshua C, Weiss Stefan, Rospleszcz Susanne, Natarajan Pradeep, Hoffmann Udo, Rogers Ian S, Truong Quynh A, Völker Uwe, Dörr Marcus, Bülow Robin, Criqui Michael H, Allison Matthew, Ganesh Santhi K, Yao Jie, Waldenberger Melanie, Bamberg Fabian, Rice Kenneth M, Essers Jeroen, Kapteijn Daniek M C, van der Laan Sander W, de Knegt Rob J, Ghanbari Mohsen, Felix Janine F, Ikram M Arfan, Kavousi Maryam, Uitterlinden Andre G, Roks Anton J M, Danser A H Jan, Tsao Philip S, Damrauer Scott M, Guo Xiuqing, Rotter Jerome I, Psaty Bruce M, Kathiresan Sekar, Völzke Henry, Peters Annette, Johnson Craig, Strauch Konstantin, Meitinger Thomas, O'Donnell Christopher J, Dehghan Abbas, 2 Mar 2022, In: Human molecular genetics. 31 , p. 3566-3579 14 p.

The Applications of Single-Cell RNA Sequencing in Atherosclerotic Disease

Slenders Lotte, Tessels Daniëlle E, van der Laan Sander W, Pasterkamp Gerard, Mokry Michal 8 Feb 2022, In: Frontiers in cardiovascular medicine. 9 , p. 1-12

Intersecting single-cell transcriptomics and genome-wide association studies identifies crucial cell populations and candidate genes for atherosclerosis

Slenders Lotte, Landsmeer Lennart P L, Cui Kai, Depuydt Marie A C, Verwer Maarten, Mekke Joost, Timmerman Nathalie, van den Dungen Noortje A M, Kuiper Johan, de Winther Menno P J, Prange Koen H M, Ma Wei Feng, Miller Clint L, Aherrahrou Redouane, Civelek Mete, de Borst Gert J, de Kleijn Dominique P V, Asselbergs Folkert W, den Ruijter Hester M, Boltjes Arjan, Pasterkamp Gerard, van der Laan Sander W, Mokry Michal Jan 2022, In: European heart journal open. 2

All research output

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