Quality of life

Research and education at UM have been thematic, multidisciplinary, and inspired by social themes. UM distinguishes itself by focusing on three main research themes (i.e. ‘Quality of life’, ‘Europe and a Globalising World’, and ‘Learning and innovation’) which are studied on the basis of different disciplines at all relevant levels.

Quality of life is an interdisciplinary research programme that focuses on the well-being of individuals in the context of a safe, healthy, sustainable and financially secure society. An important infrastructure of this research programme is situated on the Maastricht Health Campus. This Campus is home to the largest academic health science cluster in Europe, which serves the entire health continuum from top referral and top clinical care to prevention and rehabilitation. The research excels in four key areas: cardiovascular diseases,mental health and neurosciences, metabolic aspects of chronic diseases, and primary care and health sciences.

A doctor with a mission

In Body
Wednesday, 20 February 2013 15:21
Vivianne Tjan-Heijnen knew from a young age that she wanted to become an oncologist. When she was 16, her grandmother died of bladder cancer without even knowing she was ill. It was simply never discussed: “Only my mother and her brother knew. That’s just the way it was in the early ‘80s. My grandmother lived with us, so it had a big impact on me. I decided then and there to become a doctor to make sure no-one else would ever die of cancer. Naturally that’s what I thought as a teenager.” Now, over 30 years later and the head of the Department of Medical Oncology at the MUMC+, she is committed to providing quality care for cancer patients.

The dry feet of the Dutch

Wednesday, 20 February 2013 15:13
When Hurricane Sandy caused severe damage in the Caribbean, Mid-Atlantic and north-eastern United States last October, heads turned once again towards the Netherlands. Our country's reputation in the field of flood safety is more than a matter of national pride; it has been unparalleled since the construction of the Delta Works. With strikingly dry feet for the past decades, have we won the battle against the water? Not quite, according to Trudes Heems and Baukje Kothuis. The common belief that we have been saved once and for all is a myth, they argue in their joint PhD thesis.

Following a role model in science

In Body
Wednesday, 20 February 2013 15:07
In 2010 Axel zur Hausen (45) was appointed professor of Pathology at Maastricht University. One year later, his niece Talisa (20) started the European Studies programme. And finally, in 2012 her grandfather and his father, Professor Harald zur Hausen (76), accepted the Tefaf Oncoloy Chair in Maastricht. The virologist and 2008 Nobel Prize winner inspired or – as Axel puts it – even ‘pushed’ many of his family members towards a career in science. “Eight years ago, when I was first appointed professor, I compared myself to my father; he was one year younger than I was when he accepted his first chair”, says Axel. “But since the Nobel Prize, there’s no comparison anymore.” Three generations of zur Hausens talk about family ties, science and ambitions.

Dissertation topic of Rita Dias Brandão

Roughly one in eight Dutch women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and one in sixty with ovarian cancer. In five to ten percent of these cases, this involves a hereditary form. Women with a mutation in the BRCA1/2 gene are approximately eight times more likely to develop early onset breast or ovarian cancer. “But we can’t predict the cancer site or when they will get it. All we know is that at the age of 80 they have sixty to eighty percent of developing breast cancer and twelve to forty percent chance of developing ovarian cancer. With my molecular-genetic research, I hope to contribute to finding an answer,” says Rita Dias Brandão. 

Writing with your brain

In Mind
Tuesday, 23 October 2012 14:58

Bettina Sorger developed a method at Maastricht University (UM) that allows people to convert their thoughts, letter by letter, into brain patterns that are measured by an MRI scanner, and then translated by analysis software back into letters. It was a scientific breakthrough – but it took two years to convince a leading scientific journal to publish it. The clinical testing phase is now underway.

“Some psychopaths can be treated”

In Mind
Tuesday, 23 October 2012 14:18

Although the claims are preliminary, the first results of his research on patients involuntarily committed for psychiatric treatment (TBS patients) are promising. David Bernstein, professor of Forensic Psychotherapy, may have found a treatment for even the worst cases of psychopathy: schema therapy. “The social benefits could be enormous”, he says.

The link between overweight and arteriosclerosis

Could you describe your research?
I’ve just received a Veni grant to study the link between arteriosclerosis and overweight. We know that overweight people have a greater chance of developing cardiovascular diseases. And it’s agreed that this is at least partly caused by chronic inflammation in the fatty tissue of overweight people. But what’s actually happening at the cell level is not yet clear.

This autumn, closely followed by media worldwide, professor of Vascular Physiology Mark Post will cook and serve the first ‘test-tube hamburger’,made of tiny pieces of meat produced in-vitro. Will his cutting-edge research have a drastic impact on traditional meat production?

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