Full Professor

Carlijn Bouten

The intriguing capacity of living cells to shape and adapt their own environment teaches us how to engineer new tissues for the heart.

Group / Unit
Cell-Matrix Interaction for Cardiovascular Tissue Regeneration
Department / Section
Biomedical Engineering
Gemini zuid
Floor / room

Research Profile

Carlijn Bouten is professor of Cell-Matrix Interactions in Cardiovascular Regeneration at the department of Biomedical Engineering (research group Soft Tissue Engineering & Mechanobiology). Her research group investigates the interplay between living cells and the mechanobiological cues originating from the extracellular matrix under conditions of tissue growth, adaptation, and regeneration and degeneration. The group uses ‘living’ model systems at different length scales (cell, cell-matrix, engineered tissue, native tissue) to quantify these aspects, preferably in real-time. The obtained knowledge is applied in engineering approaches to regenerate living tissues, in particular for the human heart. A prominent example is the development of a synthetic, biodegradable heart valve prosthesis that seduces the body to create a new, living heart valve at the site of implantation. Bouten performs her multidisciplinary research in close collaboration with material scientists, life scientists, clinicians, and medtech spin-offs. She leads several national and international public-private-patient research consortia in the field of Regenerative Medicine and Tissue Engineering.

Seducing the heart to repair itself

Carlijn Bouten leads the ImaValve project funded by the European Commission under the Seventh European Framework Program. Within this consortium, leading academic and industrial partners in the field of biomaterials science and tissue engineering from Switzerland, Germany and The Netherlands are brought together to join forces. The researchers want to realize the dream of a creating a living heart valve that is grown inside the patient’s body at the site of destination and that consists of the patient’s own tissue. 

Academic Background

Carlijn Bouten was trained in functional anatomy and biomechanics as well as muscle physiology at the department of Human Movement Sciences of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, where she received her MSc degree in 1991. In 1995, she obtained her PhD degree from Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e, the Netherlands). She performed postdoctoral research at the Université Laval (Quebec), University of London, and at TU/e. In 1998, she was appointed assistant professor in Cellular Biomechanics in the department of Mechanical Engineering at TU/e, and in 2002 she became associate professor of Tissue Engineering in the department of Biomedical Engineering at the same university. In 2010, Carlijn Bouten was appointed full professor of Cell-Matrix Interaction in Cardiovascular Regeneration at TU/e. She is a recipient of the Aspasia Career Development award of the Dutch Science Foundation NWO (2002), which awarded her a VICI grant for her research on heart valve tissue engineering in 2003. From 2005-2010 Bouten was member of The Young Academy of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW).Since 2017, she leads the national gravitation program Materials-Driven Regeneration. In that same year she was elected member of the KNAW.

Educational Activities

  • Heart and blood
  • Regeneration

Ancillary Activities

  • Board of Directors Heart Valve Society, Heart Valve Society (internationaal)
  • Bezit aandelen als lid van STAK, Xeltis AG (spin-off van de TU/e)
  • Lid van de wetenschappelijke adviesraad, Hartstichting