Research interests

Jan-Luuk Hillebrands (1972) is Professor of Experimental Vascular Pathology at the Department of Pathology & Medical Biology, Division of Pathology of the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG). He studied Medical Biology at the University of Groningen after which he started his PhD training at the Department of Cell Biology - Immunology section of the UMCG. In 2001, he received his PhD cum laude on the pathogenetic mechanisms underlying development of transplant vasculopathy. He then moved to the Rossini lab (Diabetes Division, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA, USA) where he was a post-doc until 2003. During his stay in the USA, he worked on the phenotypic and functional characterization of regulatory T cell subsets in a rat model of autoimmune diabetes. After his return to Groningen he was awarded a prestigious NWO-VENI grant as well as a personal Career Stimulation Program Grant from the Dutch Kidney Foundation. In 2007 he was awarded a Career Development Grant from the Dutch Diabetes Foundation and in 2009 a NWO-Medium Investment Subsidy was granted for an advanced microscopy system (TissueGnostics TissueFAXS). The microscopy system is now part of the UMCG Microscopy and Imaging Center (UMIC) infrastructure and accessible to UMCG, RuG and external users (

His main current research interest is the development of cardiovascular disease (in particular atherosclerosis and calcification) in the setting of chronic kidney disease and diabetes, with special emphasis on phenotypic modulation of vascular smooth muscle cells and the vasculoprotective effects of the renal protein Klotho. His expertise is on basic translational research including animal models of renal and vascular disease.

In addition to his research activities he is involved in various teaching activities for students Medical Sciences, Dentistry, Life Sciences and University College Groningen (UCG) since he started his PhD training. Currently, he is responsible for teaching basic histology in the curriculum medicine G2020 and involved in the development and implementation of histology and pathology e-learing/virtual microscopy modules. He is member of the “Toetsbeoordelingspanel G2020” (as of September 2017). He furthermore co-edited the Dutch histology textbook “Functionele histologie” (14th edition [2014], ISBN: 9789035237988, Reed Business Education and 16th edition [2019], ISBN 9789036820240, Bohn Stafleu van Loghum).

His is management activities include Coordinator Research (membership Management Team) at the division of Pathology and UMCG co-coordinator of the International Research Training Group GRK1874/1_2 “Diabetic Microvascular Complications” (collaboration University of Mannheim/Heidelberg (Germany) and the University of Groningen/UMCG) ( From 2012-2018 he was member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Dutch Kidney Foundation.

  1. Epigenetic Regulation of the Glomerular Endothelial Glycocalyx by Enhancer of Zeste Homolog-2 (EZH2) Histone Methyltransferase in Diabetic Nephropathy

    Sol, M., van der Leest, P., Qiu, J., van der Vlag, J., van den Born, J., Yard, B., Hillebrands, J-L., Kamps, J. A. A. M. & Krenning, G., 2019, In : Journal of vascular research. 56, p. 102-102 1 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting AbstractAcademic

  2. Serum free thiols in type 2 diabetes mellitus: A prospective study

    Schillern, E. E. M., Pasch, A., Feelisch, M., Waanders, F., Hendriks, S. H., Mencke, R., Harms, G., Groenier, K. H., Bilo, H. J. G., Hillebrands, J-L., van Goor, H. & van Dijk, P. R., Jun-2019, In : Journal of clinical & translational endocrinology. 16, 26 p., 100182.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

  3. Junqueira's functionele histologie

    Hillebrands, J-L., Vreuls, C. & Wisse, E., 9-Jan-2019, 16th edition ed. Houten: Bohn Stafleu Van Loghum bv. 668 p.

    Research output: Book/ReportBookProfessional

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  1. Jon van Rood-prijs 2002

    Jan Luuk Hillebrands (Recipient), 16-Apr-2002


  2. Fellowship for Innovation of Teaching (FIT)

    Jan Luuk Hillebrands (Recipient), 6-Feb-2017


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  1. Jury member ISCOMS 2019

    Jan Luuk Hillebrands (Other)

    Activity: OtherAcademic

  2. Role of the anti-ageing protein Klotho in vascular remodeling

    Jan Luuk Hillebrands (Speaker)

    Activity: Talk or presentationAcademic

  3. International Research Training Group 1874/2 Diabetic Microvascular Complications (DIAMICOM) Spring School

    Jan Luuk Hillebrands (Organiser)

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventOrganising an eventAcademic

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