Research of Human and Animal Physiology

Our research focus is one of the pillars of physiology: metabolism, which includes energy metabolism, intermediary metabolism, redox metabolism, and mitochondria. We obtain our results by performing experimental research in humans, animal models (including invertebrates), organs/tissues, and cells, using state-of-the-art physiological, functional, biomolecular and related bioanalysis tools in an integrated manner.

Flowchart of HAPs research focus: we study how nutrients, foods and other compounds affect metabolism and mitochondria, and how this impacts the health and functioning of an organism.

We have extensive expertise in performing interventions studies focused on assessment of energy metabolism, integrated with metabolic, functional genomic and immune-histochemical analysis. We perform short term interventions and cross-sectional mechanistic studies in humans, detailed short and long term dietary interventions in model animals (mice and pigs), and detailed mechanistic studies in tissues as well as primary and cultured cells.

Our research focus

We focus on diets, nutrients and compounds that affect mitochondria and intermediary metabolism and study effects of age, sex and physical activity. Our physiological expertise includes human indirect calorimetry, muscle function analysis and non-invasive assessment of mitochondrial function by NIRS; mouse indirect calorimetry extended with H2 and CH4 sensors to measure microbial activity and 12CO2 and 13CO2 sensors to measure substrate oxidation; cell respiration and metabolic flux analysis by seahorse XF96 and Oroboros.

We are well equipped for transcriptome analysis, for a wide array of biological and biochemical techniques and for light- and fluorescence microscopy.

Staff scientists

dr. VCJ (Vincent) de Boer Cellular metabolism and metabolic regulation (in vitro, ex vivo, in vivo)
dr. S (Sander) Grefte Muscle-nerve interaction (in vitro, mouse) & redox metabolism, age J (Jaap) Keijer Metabolic pathways and mitochondria (in vivo) & nutrients, aging, metabolic disease
dr. WJH (Werner) Koopman Mitochondria: structure - energy metabolic function (in vitro)
dr. AG (Arie) Nieuwenhuizen Energy metabolism in health and disease (human) & muscle, nutrition EM (Evert) van Schothorst Substrate metabolism and adipose tissue (pre-clinical) & diabetes, carbohydrates
dr. S (Silvie) Timmers Muscle function (human) & fatigue, aging, foods
dr. KJ (Katja) Teerds Male and female reproduction (pig, mouse, human, various animals)
D (Deli) Zhang Atrial fibrillation (in vitro, drosophila, preclinical, human) & risk factors, prevention