THYRAGE is a EC funded H2020 research project that will investigate the effects of thyroid hormone on a wide range of age-related diseases, including osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, neurological disorders and sarcopenia. Knowledge generated in this innovative project is needed to develop new strategies to prevent and treat these diseases in the elderly.

Leiden University Medical Center (Coordinator)

Leiden, The Netherlands
In the Leiden University Medical Center, patient care, scientific research and education are well integrated. 'Ageing' is one of the seven specific research themes in which the LUMC excels. In each of these themes, clinical and fundamental research from several departments is combined.

Clinically, the LUMC aims at giving older people a longer healthy life by using their age as a starting point when interpreting and treating their illness. Scientifically, the LUMC has a strong tradition in coordinating large, collaborative research efforts as well as a track record in collecting clinical/functional data from broad population based and clinical studies.

Besides its role as coordinator, the LUMC will be responsible for all studies involving human volunteers.

Dr. Diana van Heemst

Associate professor & Project Coordinator
Dept. of Internal Medicine, section Gerontology and Geriatrics

Dr. Diana van Heemst, associate professor, studied and obtained her doctorate in Biology at the University of Wageningen. Trained as molecular biologist, she works in a clinical setting at the LUMC since 2002. Her research is aimed at identifying biological mechanisms that contribute to human health and disease via translation of key finding from model organisms to humans. She integrates different approaches and methodologies in her research line, including analysis of genetic determinants, cellular characteristics, circulating biomarkers, neuro-endocrine phenotypes and functional capacities. Study designs vary from large cohort studies to small in depth diagnostic studies in human volunteers, including randomised controlled trials.
Van Heemst published over 115 international peer reviewed articles and supervised six PhD students in their successful promotion. Since January 2016 she is the project coordinator of the THYRAGE project.

Prof. Rudi G.J. Westendorp

Professor in Medicine at Old Age
Dept. of Public Health and Center for Healthy Ageing
Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen

Prof. Rudi Westendorp, professor in Medicine, studied and obtained his doctorate at the University of Leiden and worked as an internist at the LUMC. Since his appointment as Professor of Medicine (2000) he combines both skills in trying to understand age related disorders and healthy longevity. From 2005-2012 he headed the department of Gerontology and Geriatrics of the LUMC. Since January 2015 he is Professor in Medicine at Old Age at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Westendorp published over 500 international peer reviewed articles and accompanied more than forty PhD students in their successful promotion. 

Charlotte van Beuzekom

Project Manager
Dept. of Internal Medicine, section Gerontology and Geriatrics

Charlotte van Beuzekom obtained her bachelor degree (BA) at the Hotel Management School Maastricht. She specialized in European project management. Since 2007 she is EU project manager and advisor at the Leiden University Medical Centre. She has ample expertise in management of (inter)-national research consortia, organization of meetings and workshops, financial management, database and website management and networking. Since January 2016 she is project manager of THYRAGE.

Ana Zutinic, MD

Physician researcher/PhD candidate
Dept. of Internal Medicine, section Gerontology and Geriatrics

Ana Zutinic studied Medicine as well as Biomedical Sciences at University of Leiden in The Netherlands. Her scientific interests are in healthy ageing, endocrinology and nutrition. “It’s all about staying as healthy as possible for as long as possible” – she says, and is enthusiastic about working on the THYRAGE project as a contribution to this motto. 

Nicolien van Vliet, MD

PhD candidate
Dept. of Internal Medicine, section Gerontology and Geriatrics

Nicolien van Vliet studied and obtained her medical degree at the University of Leiden. Her research focuses on the thyroid gland in relation to age-related diseases and biomarkers. She hopes to add a piece to the puzzle of why people develop age-related diseases and to advance early diagnosis to enable targeted prevention. To increase dissemination of THYRAGE activities, she also coordinates the THYRAGE twitter account with help from colleagues at the other partner facilities.

Evie van der Spoel, MSc

Postdoctoral researcher
Dept. of Internal Medicine, section Gerontology and Geriatrics

Dr. Evie van der Spoel studied Biomedical Sciences at the University of Leiden. In 2019, she obtained her PhD which was focused on the association between pituitary hormone secretion and familial longevity. She is very enthusiastic about performing research on the biological mechanisms of ageing and longevity, with the aim of promoting healthy ageing. She is currently working as a postdoctoral researcher for THYRAGE.