Newswise — MAYWOOD, Ill. -- Oak Parker Pieter P. de Tombe, PhD, one of the world's leading heart failure researchers, says he owes a lot to his mentor and fellow Dutchman, Dr. Henk ter Keurs.
De Tombe is director of the Cardiovascular Research Center of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. He worked in ter Keurs' labs at Leiden University in the Netherlands and the University of Calgary in Canada, where de Tombe earned his PhD.
"Henk gave us superb scientific training," de Tombe said. "He was very enthusiastic about science. He instilled a curiosity about how things worked, and an excitement for designing experiments. He mentored many scientists around the world, and we all owe him a great deal."
Loyola University Chicago and the Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta recently co-sponsored a symposium in Alberta in honor of ter Keurs' 70th birthday. Researchers from the United States, Canada, Japan, Italy, Israel and the Netherlands paid homage to ter Keurs by presenting their latest findings in basic cardiology research.
"It was a true pleasure to listen to the talks, and to see that students I had the privilege to work with are now among the leading scientists and clinicians in their fields," ter Keurs said.
De Tombe studies heart failure at the cellular level. In heart failure patients, heart cells contract only about 18 percent as well as healthy heart cells. Certain proteins suppress the ability of heart cells to contract. The goal of his research is to develop new drugs that would block these proteins, thereby allowing the cell to contract normally again.
De Tombe is the James R. DePauw Professor of Physiology and Chair of the Department of Physiology of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.