Kirsten Nijholt

MD/PhD Student

Kirsten started her Medicine studies in Groningen in 2014 and completed her Bachelor of Science in Medicine in 2017.  During her bachelor degree she became involved and fascinated by research in the cardiovascular field. Starting with a pilot project as part of the Junior Scientific Masterclass program in her second year. This project triggered her to pursue in research and start her research internship as part of the Master in Medicine. Together with her supervisors she decided to write an application for the MD/PhD program, for which she got accepted in November 2018. After finishing her first year of clinical internships in the UMCG in July 2019, she has started two full years of research for her PhD. At a later stage during her MD/PhD trajectory, she will spend another six months for research at the University of San Diego under the supervision of Prof. dr. Heller Brown.

Contact details

Ongoing project description:

Kirsten’s MD/PhD project is focused on the physiological cardiac adaptation to exercise. Studying exercise in healthy and diseased models will improve our understanding of physiological growth in the heart. Kirsten believes that increased understanding of cardiac physiological growth will help us to develop novel therapeutic targets for heart failure. The project is supervised by prof. dr. de Boer and dr. Westenbrink.


Current projects:


My projects


MITOchondrial therapy to increase cardiac FORCE and enhance exercise performance

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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Mitochondrial Therapy for Doxorubicin Cardiomyopathy: NF-κB to the Rescue?

K T Nijholt, B D Westenbrink, R A de Boer, Cardiovascular Research, 2019.

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