NUTRIM Division 3

Respiratory & Age-related Health

Aim of NUTRIM's Division 3

Understanding the onset of disease related to age and lifestyle, with the ultimate goal of identifying people with an enhanced risk for disease and (re-)hospitalisation.

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Research Themes

We perform fundamental research in a clinical setting expanding the barriers for human metabolic research and allowing direct translation to the patient population, lowering both morbidity and mortality.

The translational research in this division is truly from bench to bedside, ranging from the study of population cohorts, in vitro cell models to tailored clinical intervention studies within the hospital, in a rehabilitation setting or in the community.

Research Focus

Division 3, focuses on the ageing process and the related metabolic impairments and chronic diseases with a specific focus on respiratory diseases (COPD and lung cancer). We study the impact of changes experienced during life in lifestyle (smoking, physical (in)activity, (mal)nutrition) and the environment and their interaction with our genetic background.

Healthy ageing is within our capacity and we aim to increase our understanding of the human ageing process (from in utero to old age) in various tissues to develop more effective strategies to halt or even reverse chronic disease progression and support healthy ageing.

Research Impact

Translating insights from muscle biology to personalised nutrition and exercise interventions is used to reverse or slow down the aging process and increase health and well-being in all disease phases.

Changing habits in diet, smoking and physical activity have been instrumental in the greater incidence and prevalence of chronic diseases. Our belief is that early development of chronic metabolic disorders can be prevented by an active, healthy lifestyle thereby supporting more active, healthy ageing. This knowledge will be applied to develop more effective strategies to add life to our years instead of years to our lives.

Collaborating departments, research performed in both basic and clinical departments*.

Collaborating departments in Division 3


  • Nitrate, which is found in beetroot juice, for example, has a positive effect on the performance of trained athletes who primarily require short bursts of energy, such as footballers. For endurance athletes, such as cyclists, nitrate appears to have very little to no effect.

  • A new study, led by researchers from the Universities of Liverpool and Copenhagen, has been launched to identify the risks and benefits of sugar replacements in the diet. The Department of Human Biology from Maastricht University is also a partner in this large European Initiative. The team is led...

  • The intensity and colour of lighting influence heating costs. Moreover, the right lighting contributes to a healthier indoor climate in offices and other buildings. This is demonstrated in Marije te Kulveā€™s research, with which she obtained her PhD at Maastricht University (UM) this week.

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