R01 grant from National Institutes of Health for Coen Ottenheijm!

Professor Coen Ottenheijm (Department of Physiology, VUmc) has received an R01 grant from National Institutes of Health (NIH, USA). These funds (2.5M$) will allow Ottenheijm to study the pathophysiological mechanisms that contribute to the development of diaphragm muscle weakness in ventilated patients in the intensive care unit. Diaphragm weakness is an important contributor to weaning failure in these patients.

In his research Ottenheijm focuses on titin. Titin is a giant protein in the sarcomere, the smallest contractile unit in muscle. Due to its position in the sarcomere, titin can sense changes in muscle activity and subsequently communicate with the nucleus to adapt protein synthesis. Ottenheijm hypothesizes that these unique features of titin are central to the extremely rapid development of diaphragm weakness during inactivity induced by mechanical ventilation in the intensive care unit. The research will be conducted in collaboration with professor Leo Heunks (intensive care unit, VUmc) and will partly take place in the second laboratory of Ottenheijm at the University of Arizona (Tucson, USA).