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Prof. J.M.T. de Bakker (1946) has been appointed Professor of Experimental Cardiology in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Amsterdam (AMC-UvA).

Prof. J.M.T. de Bakker (1946) has been appointed Professor of Experimental Cardiology in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Amsterdam (AMC-UvA).

Jacques de Bakker investigates the mechanisms of cardiac arrhythmias and possibilities for their treatment. His focus is on the mechanisms of cardiac arrhythmia resulting from heart attack or cardiomyopathy (disease affecting the heart muscle), and he also investigates arrhythmias caused by ‘ion channel mutations'. Heart diseases are accompanied by structural and electrical changes to the heart muscle, which can give rise to life-threatening irregularities in the heartbeat (cardiac arrhythmia). Research, in particular into the question of why one patient develops arrhythmia while another does not despite having the same underlying condition, is of great importance. De Bakker approaches this issue from a genetic, electrophysiological and structural perspective. In terms of electrophysiology it is desirable to apply non-invasive techniques, which is why electrocardiographic imaging (using a multichannel surface ECG to estimate electrical activity in the heart) is used as part of the research. De Bakker also conducts research into the treatment of cardiac arrhythmias (low heart rhythm) by bio-pacemakers, as well as into possibilities for curing mutations in ion channels through inhibition of the mutated gene and upregulation of the normal gene.

De Bakker began his career as investigator at the Helmholtz Institute for Biomedical Engineering in Aachen, where he studied electronic pacemakers and hypothermia-induced cardiac arrhythmias. In 1979 De Bakker was appointed to a research position at the Interuniversity Cardiology Institute of the Netherlands (ICIN) and devoted himself to (amongst other things) the operative treatment of cardiac arrhythmias, completing his PhD on the subject in 1985. As project leader of the ICIN project entitled "targeting the mechanism and treatment of cardiac arrhythmias", De Bakker was appointed ICIN Professor at Utrecht University in 1998. He has been head of the Experimental Cardiology Department at the AMC-UvA since 2004.