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Portrait of two new SOT nucleus members: Dr Soumaya Ben Aicha and Dr Emiel van der Vost

Basic Science

Soumaya Ben Aicha

BenAicha_Soumaya_2022.jpegDr Ben-Aicha earned her PhD at the Hospital Santa Creu i Sant Pau, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain. During her PhD programme, she studied the impact of hypercholesterolaemia over the HDLs on coronary artery disease and consequent myocardial infarction in large-animal models. Moreover, her intense contribution to further projects, based on the pleiotropic effects of statin-treatment, resulted in intellectual property and collaboration from the private sector as well as numerous publications as first and co-author. Dr Ben-Aicha did a stay at the Universitatklinikum-Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany, to analyse in parallel the impact of statins on the cardiovascular rhythm.

She later moved to London as a postdoctoral research associate at the Imperial College London (ICL), founded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF). She is currently working on the impact of human-derived nanoparticles on macrophages and T cells in the pre-clinical and clinical arena while being involved in university teaching work.

Dr Ben-Aicha presented all those studies at different congresses, receiving prestigious honours and awards at the national and international level (ESC, ESCI, SEC, FCBV…).

Area of expertise: hypercholesterolaemia, cardioimmunology, preventive cardiology, coronary artery disease

Emiel van der Vost


Dr. Emiel van der Vorst obtained his PhD in Cardiovascular Biology and Medicine from the Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht (CARIM), The Netherlands in 2015, by studying the effects of high-density lipoproteins on inflammation. For his postdoctoral period he investigated the role of chemokines and chemokine-receptors in atherosclerosis at the Institute for Cardiovascular Prevention (IPEK) in Munich, Germany, resulting in several high-impact publications. Since 2019, he has worked as group leader at the Institute for Molecular Cardiovascular Research (IMCAR) in Aachen, Germany, as well as at CARIM and IPEK.

Currently his research is focusing on elucidating various mechanisms by which the lipid metabolism interacts with the immune system in the context of cardiovascular disease, especially atherosclerosis.

His work is funded by various prestigious (inter)national personal grants and he is member of the editorial boards of several cardiovascular focused journals.  

Area of expertise: atherosclerosis, chemokine-receptors, high-density lipoproteins, immune-lipid crosstalk