Daan Westenbrink


Dr. Westenbrink is a cardiologist and a translational scientist who, previous to his current appointment, completed a PhD program at the University of Groningen and a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of California San Diego, USA. He is registered as a clinical pharmacologist and subspecializes in heart failure and cardiac MRI.

His research group consists of (clinical) research fellows, MD/PhD students and master students from different nationalities and backgrounds working on new ways to recharge the failing heart. His research focus is translational in nature and includes fundamental studies to unravel the root cause of myocardial energy deficiency in heart failure as well as clinical trials testing new strategies to improve energy delivery to the heart. Dr. Westenbrink has received several research grants from the Netherlands Heart Foundation (junior and senior clinical scientist), the Dutch Organization for Scientific Research (AGIKO and VENI) and the European Society of Cardiology and his work has received several international awards. He has served as Associate Editor for the European Journal of Heart Failure and as chair of Young@Heart, the talent development council of the Dutch Cardiovascular Alliance (DCVA).

Contact details

Current activities

His research group studies the origins of mitochondrial dysfunction in heart failure with the intention to develop metabolic therapies for this condition. The research involves functional studies in isolated mitochondria and cultured cardiomyocytes as well as intervention studies in murine models. Clinical research employs advanced MRI techniques to study the role of myocardial adiposity in the pathophysiology of HFpEF and to test the effect of ketone bodies on cardiac metabolism. Dr. Westenbrink is also a principal investigator of the DCVA consortium DOUBLE DOSIS and a member of the Dutch working group on cardiac metabolism. He is currently working as the director of the cardiology clinic and serves as an editor of the Netherlands Heart journal.

My projects



Harnessing the power of ketones

PLN cardiomyopathy

Investigating and treating phospholamban cardiomyopathy


MITOchondrial therapy to increase cardiac FORCE and enhance exercise performance

Adiposity in Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction

Epicardial fat can cause heart failure with preserved ejection fraction.

My publications

ATPase Inhibitory Factor-1 Disrupts Mitochondrial Ca2+ Handling and Promotes Pathological Cardiac Hypertrophy through CaMKIIδ

Mario G Pavez-Giani, Pablo I Sánchez-Aguilera, Nils Bomer, Shigeki Miyamoto, Harmen G Booij, Paula Giraldo, Silke U Oberdorf-Maass, Kirsten T Nijholt, Salva R Yurista, Hendrik Milting, Peter van der Meer, Rudolf A de Boer, Joan Heller Brown, Herman W H Sillje, B Daan Westenbrink. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021.

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The erythropoietin receptor expressed in skeletal muscle is essential for mitochondrial biogenesis and physiological exercise

Kirsten T. Nijholt, Laura M. G. Meems, Willem P. T. Ruifrok, Alexander H. Maass, Salva R. Yurista, Mario G. Pavez-Giani, Belend Mahmoud, Anouk H. G. Wolters, Dirk J. van Veldhuisen, Wiek H. van Gilst, Herman H. W. Silljé, Rudolf A. de Boer & B. Daan Westenbrink. Plügers Archiv- European Journal of Physiology. June 2021.

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What You Did Not Know About Cardiac Ca2+ Handling: Lysosomes and Oxidized PKA

Kirsten T. Nijholt, Rudolf A. de Boer, B. Daan Westenbrink. Circulation. 2021.

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Ketone Ester Treatment Improves Cardiac Function and Reduces Pathologic Remodeling in Preclinical Models of Heart Failure

Salva R. Yurista, Timothy R. Matsuura, Herman H.W. Silljé, Kirsten T. Nijholt, Kendra S. McDaid, Swapnil V. Shewale, Teresa C. Leone, John C. Newman, Eric Verdin, Dirk J. van Veldhuisen, Rudolf A. de Boer, Daniel P. Kelly, B. Daan Westenbrink. Circ Heart Fail. 2020.

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Overexpression of A kinase interacting protein 1 attenuates myocardial ischemia / reperfusion injury, but does not influence heart failure development

Booij HG, Yu H, Tigchelaar W, van Gilst WH, de Boer RA, Sillje H, Westenbrink BD. Cardiovasc Res. 2016

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