Dirkjan van Schaardenburg has acquired extensive experience in the field of chronic rheumatic inflammatory diseases. More effective treatments for such diseases have gradually shifted the focus from lessening their effects to their early detection and preventative treatment. Van Schaardenburg specialises in the earliest phase of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), in which individuals with an increased risk of RA have not yet developed inflammation of the joints, but do often experience vague complaints and various changes to their immune system. For this research he works closely together with the AMC-UvA, VUmc and Sanquin Research. This line will now be strengthened by embedding it in the Amsterdam Rheumatology and immunology Center (ARC), which was established in October of 2014. ARC is a joint initiative by the Rheumatology departments of the AMC-UvA, Reade and VUmc.
Van Schaardenburg trained as an internist and rheumatologist in Leiden, where he was awarded his PhD for research into rheumatoid arthritis in the elderly. Besides being the medical manager of Reade Rheumatology (Reade Reumatologie), Van Schaardenburg also supervises interns specialising in rheumatology at the AMC-UvA and VUmc. In addition, he is also the project leader of a consortium that works on predicting the effects of biologicals on rheumatoid arthritis.