Prof Dr Ir Ilja Arts, Ph.D. (I.C.W.)

Ilja Arts is Professor of Systems Biology and founding Scientific Director of the Maastricht Centre for Systems Biology (MaCSBio) at the Faculty of Science and Engineering of Maastricht University. MaCSBio is an interdisciplinary research centre aimed at integrating and modelling biological data from different empirical domains using data-driven as well as theory-driven analytical and modelling approaches. Research lines focus on Systems Medicine, Computational Neuro-Genetics, and Systems Toxicology.


Current research of Prof. Arts aims to elucidate biological mechanisms that play a role in the development and prognosis of chronic diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Such research generates novel biomarkers, new leads for prevention and treatment, and improved risk stratification, thus enabling a biology-based approach to personalized health for chronic diseases. She works on the integration of large, multi-dimensional data (genomics, transcriptomics, metabolomics, microbiome, clinical, lifestyle) from deep-phenotyped cohorts with genome scale metabolic and dynamical models, and pathway and network models. Both data-driven (machine learning) and biology-based approaches are used.


Prof. Arts has generated over 6 M€ competitive funding as applicant or co-applicant, she is an experienced supervisor of PhD candidates and has published peer reviewed scientific papers on a number of topics. She has extensive experience in developing, coordinating, and teaching courses at the Bachelor, Master, and post-doctoral level and has pioneered in innovative topics such as molecular epidemiology that are now part of the standard curricula.


Prof. Arts is a member of the Board of the Dutch Research Council, Domain Science (NWO-ENW; a major science funding body in the Netherlands). She is vice-chair of the Board of the Netherlands eScience Center (NLeSc), member of the board of the Netherlands Bioinformatics & Systems Biology research school BioSB, and member of several scientific advisory committees such as the Dutch Techcentre for Life Sciences (DTL), and the German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam Rehbruecke (DIfE).