Paula da Costa Martins was recently appointed as a professor in Molecular Vascular Biology at the Department of Molecular Genetics, Faculty of Sciences and Engineering at the University of Maastricht.
Paula received her PhD in 2005 from the University of Amsterdam. After performing postdoctoral research at the Hubrecht Institute (Utrecht, The Netherlands), she engaged in a tenure-track program at Maastricht University. She is mostly recognized by her work on deciphering the contribution of non-coding RNAs, particularly microRNAs, to the development and progression of cardiac disease, and the identification of specific microRNAs as new therapeutic targets for cardiac diseases. More recently, she has been focusing her research on understanding how different cardiac cell types communicate to influence each other’s phenotype and in a concerted manner contribute to pathologic cardiac remodeling.
Her main interest is unveiling how cardiomyocytes send “microRNA messages’ to cardiac endothelial and inflammatory cells via extracellular vesicles, to alter their angiogenic and inflammatory properties, respectively, which is only possible if 1) new relevant players in the process of hypertrophic and microvascular remodeling of the heart are identified; 2) the mechanisms driven by the newly identified players are better understood; 3) disturbed intercellular communication is established as a way the heart uses to cope with stress and 4) new molecular tools and models are validated to be used not only in the setting of cardiac dysfunction but also of any other disorders associated with microvascular dysfunction. In this way, she expects to identify new gene targets or processes where one can intervene to prevent or cure heart disease.
Paula is a recipient of several research subsidies granted by: