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University Medical Center Groningen

dr. A.R. (Arno) Bourgonje

MD, PhD, Postdoctoral researcher
Profile picture of dr. A.R. (Arno) Bourgonje


2018 - 2022 MD/PhD trajectory (cum laude)
Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen

PhD thesis: "Biomarker signatures in pathophysiology and therapeutic interventions in inflammatory bowel diseases: a multimodal approach", 2023 (cum laude).

Promotors: prof. dr. G. Dijkstra, prof. dr. K.N. Faber, prof. dr. H. van Goor & prof. dr. R.K. Weersma.

2020 MSc Medicine  (summa cum laude)
University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen

2016 Honours College  (cum laude)
University of Groningen

2016 BSc Medicine  (summa cum laude)
University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen

2013 Gymnasium/VWO  (magna cum laude)
Stedelijk Gymnasium Leeuwarden

Professional experience

2023 - 2024 Postdoctoral researcher / physician-scientist
Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, United States

2022 - 2023 Postdoctoral researcher / physician-scientist
Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen

2021 - 2022 Physician-not-in-training ("ANIOS")
Municipal Health Services Groningen (GGD), Groningen, the Netherlands

2019 - 2021 Project assistant
Development of exams and tests for the longitudinal examination program of the Medicine master G2020 curriculum and national Progress Test of Medicine (iVTG), University of Groningen


Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a term mainly used to describe two diseases: Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC). These are complex immune-mediated diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, characterised by a relapse-remitting disease course. Hence, IBD is difficult to predict and to adequately treat. Since IBD is a complex, heterogeneous and unpredictable disease, there is an urgent need for biomarkers, which are objectively measured parameters of (ab)normal biological processes or -systems, which may help to (early) diagnose and classify IBD, to assess disease activity and disease complications, and to accurately predict how a patients’ disease course will develop and/or how a patient will respond to a particular treatment.

My work

My research is focused on the discovery and application of novel biomarker signatures in patients with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), while also assessing their potential for therapeutic modulation (e.g., through dietary interventions) and their utility to predict clinical outcomes (e.g., response to established medical treatment). Working at the intersection of gastroenterology, immunology and molecular biology, my strategy is to identify functionally relevant disease markers derived from different biological systems (e.g., the immune system, host genetics, the gut microbiome) and -mechanisms (e.g., inflammatory pathways, oxidative stress and redox signaling, iron metabolism and hypoxia) and carefully examine these signatures through detailed phenotypic patient stratification. By adopting this multi-faceted approach and studying the interplay between different pathophysiological entities, my ultimate aim is to develop and validate clinically applicable prediction models using evidence-based translational biomarkers.

My motivation and vision

My personal motivation originates from my clinical experience with the disease burden of patients with IBD. This impressed me and encouraged me to improve IBD care, starting with developing clinically implementable biomarker-based tools for disease diagnostics, disease activity and behavior, drug response and pre-diagnostic IBD. I noticed that especially the latter is heavily understudied, which puzzled me since I believe that the development of predictive tools holds massive potential for disease prevention and thus would allow patients a longer healthy life. Combining fields of gastroenterology, immunology and molecular biology, I aim to identify and apply biomarkers for early diagnosing IBD and subsequently assess the potential for preventive measures such as lifestyle modifications, dietary interventions and early therapy initiation. Ultimately, my future ambition is to improve patients’ quality of life utilizing molecular biomarker signatures.

I also enjoy working with students (bachelor-, master- and PhD-students) and fellow young scientists, and encouraging them to contribute to science. I am always open to anyone who is interested in doing a research project or scientific internship. For more information about the possibilites, feel free to contact me:


Biomarkers; inflammatory bowel disease; immune-mediated inflammatory diseases; immunity; oxidative stress; inflammation; fibrosis; redox; autoimmune disorders; intestinal inflammatory diseases; multi-omics; clinical research.


  • Peer-reviewed publications (per 1 Jun 2024): 100 articles, letters and reviews; total citations 3,356, h-index 20, i10-index 38 (Google Scholar statistics)
  • A full overview of my publications can be found in Google Scholar or in PubMed

Professional memberships

Honors, Awards, Scholarships and Grants

  • Dioraphte Foundation / Stichting Dioraphte. 'Het ontrafelen van immunologische triggers van een zeldzame ernstige auto-immuunziekte van de galwegen.' Awarded €350,000.
  • Nederlandse Vereniging voor Gastro-Enterologie (NVGE) / Dutch Society for Gastroenterology, Gastrointestinale proefschriftprijs 2024 (best thesis award, 2nd prize).
  • 'Top 10 Digital Oral Presentation Award' (2024). Award for one of the best oral abstract presentations given at the European Crohn's and Colitis Organisation (ECCO) conference in Stockholm, Sweden.
  • 'Y-ECCO Abstract Award' (2024). Award given to the 5 best-ranked abstracts submitted to the European Crohn's and Colitis Organisation (ECCO) conference in Stockholm, Sweden.
  • Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences / Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen (KNAW) De Boer-Van Staveren Fund. 'Identificatie van immunologische triggers van IgG4-gerelateerde ziekte'. Awarded €50,000.
  • Horizon Europe consortium grant 'ID-DarkMatter-NCD' (HORIZON-HLTH-2023-DISEASE-03) (co-applicant). Awarded €850,000.
  • Gratama Foundation / Groningen University Fund (GUF) grant. 'Ontrafeling van het antilichaamrepertoire van IgG4-gerelateerde ziekte.' Awarded €25,000.
  • NWO Rubicon fellowship grant. 'Early detection of inflammatory bowel disease by high-throughput profiling of the human immune system'. Awarded €115,000.
  • PSC Partners 'Seeking a Cure' Foundation grant. 'Unraveling the immune triggers of primary sclerosing cholangitis with and without concomitant inflammatory bowel disease'. Awarded €60,000.
  • 'UEG Best Abstract Award' (2022). Award for best abstract presentation in the Translational GI session at United European Gastroenterology Week (UEGW) in Vienna, Austria.
  • 'Young-ICC Best IBD Paper Award' (2022). Winner of the 2nd prize of the Young Initiative on Crohn's and Colitis (Young-ICC) organisation for the best IBD paper written by junior IBD scientists from the Netherlands.
  • Janssen Pharmaceuticals: Role of the NRF2/Keap1-pathway in inflammatory bowel diseases. Awarded €2,100,000 (co-applicant).
  • Gastrostart grant (Dutch Society for Gastroenterology). 'Ontrafeling van het antilichaamrepertoire van patiënten met primair scleroserende cholangitis'. Awarded €10,000.
  • Stichting de Cock-Hadders grant for PhD research (2021). Awarded €6,140.
  • Stichting de Cock-Hadders grant for PhD research (2020). Awarded €4,000.
  • Stichting de Cock-Hadders grant for PhD research (2019). Awarded €6,000.
  • 'Best Oral Presentation Award' (2019). Award for best oral presentation held at the Paris Redox World Congress in Paris, France, from the International Society of Antioxidants, Nutrition and Health (ISANH).
  • 'Best Abstract Award' DDW (2019). Award for conference abstract presented at the Digestive Disease Week in San Diego, CA, USA, ranking among the best 50 abstract submitted from a total of ~4,000 submissions.
  • Stichting de Cock-Hadders grant for PhD research. Awarded €5,200.
  • JSM MD-PhD stipend (2017). MD/PhD fellowship from the Junior Scientific Masterclass (JSM) of the University of Groningen. Awarded €82,000.
  • Compendium Award (2017). Award for achieving the record-breaking score on the Dutch Progress Test of Medicine (ranking first out of ~12,000 medical students)

Main research lines

Immunological signatures of immune-mediated inflammatory diseases

Leveraging state-of-the-art technologies (e.g. phage-display immunoprecipitation sequencing [PhIP-Seq], B-cell receptor sequencing [BCR-Seq]) I aim to discover novel immune-based biomarkers for immune-mediated inflammatory diseases (IMIDs) such as IBD, primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) and IgG4-related disease. Nowadays it is possible to comprehensively and systemically characterize humoral immunity in health and disease. Using high-throughput and high-resolution approaches, I aim to find serological antibody signatures that may improve disease diagnostics and the efficacy and safety of therapeutic interventions, as well as pre-diagnostic signatures that may subsequently allow early disease detection with opportunities for prevention.

Some papers that exemplify this research line include the following:

  1. Bourgonje AR *, Andreu-Sánchez S*, Vogl T, Hu S, Vich Vila A, Gacesa R, Leviatan S, Kurilshikov, Klompus S, Kalka IN, van Dullemen HM, Weinberger A, Visschedijk MC, Festen EAM, Faber KN, Wijmenga C, Dijkstra G, Segal E, Fu J, Zhernakova A, Weersma RK.
    Immunity 2023;S1074-7613(23)00185-1. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2023.04.017.
  2. Andreu-Sánchez S*, Bourgonje AR *, Vogl T, Kurilshikov A, Leviatan S, Ruiz Moreno AJ, Hu S, Sinha T, Vich Vila A, Klompus S, Kalka IN, de Leeuw K, Arends S, Jonkers I, Withoff S, Lifelines Cohort Study, Brouwer E, Weinberger A, Wijmenga C, Segal E, Weersma RK, Fu J, Zhernakova A.
    Immunity 2023;S1074-7613(23)00171-1. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2023.04.003.
  3. Bourgonje AR, Roo-Brand G, Lisotto P, Sadaghian Sadabad M, Reitsema RD, de Goffau MC, Faber KN, Dijkstra G, Harmsen HJM.
    Frontiers in Immunology 2022;13:842911. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2022.842911.
  4. Bourgonje AR, Vogl T, Segal E, Weersma RK.
    Trends in Molecular Medicine 2022;28(8):693-705. doi: 10.1016/j.molmed.2022.05.004.
  5. Hu S*, Bourgonje AR *, Gacesa R, Jansen BH, Björk JR, Bangma A, Hidding IJ, van Dullemen HM, Visschedijk MC, Faber KN, Dijkstra G, Harmsen HJM, Festen EAM, Vich Vila A, Spekhorst LM, Weersma RK.
    Nature Communications 2024;15:1470. doi: 10.1038/s41467-024-45855-2.

Exploration of inflammation, oxidative stress and fibrosis as pathophysiological mechanisms for biomarker discovery in IBD

My early research addressed the potential utility of biomarkers of inflammation, fibrosis and oxidative stress for detection and monitoring of inflammatory disease activity and the development of disease complications in patients with IBD. Currently, very few biomarkers exist that are able to accurately reflect disease activity in IBD, while most of them are of insufficient accuracy and utility, emphasizing the need for additional biomarkers. Similarly, it is difficult to forecast the development of disease complications (e.g. fibrostenotic and fistulising disease) in an early stage, which would allow for prompt therapeutic intervention. While searching for biomarkers of disease activity and -complications, it is however crucial to take into account the potential impact of genetics, lifestyle factors, and clinical characteristics of patients on biomarkers in IBD, e.g. through patient stratification. This requires complex analysis of ‘big data’ to expose patient- and phenotype-specific molecular biomarkers in IBD. In addition, I have evaluated the effect of nutritional (e.g. vitamins, dietary fibers) and drug-based (e.g. biologicals) interventions on biomarkers in patients with IBD.

Some papers that exemplify this research line include the following:

  1. Bourgonje AR, von Martels JZH, de Vos P, Faber KN, Dijkstra G.
    PLoS One 2018;13(2):e0193202. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0193202.
  2. Bourgonje AR *, von Martels JZH*, Gabriëls RY, Blokzijl T, Buist-Homan M, Heegsma J, Jansen BH, van Dullemen HM, Festen EAM, Ter Steege RWF, Visschedijk MC, Weersma RK, de Vos P, Faber KN, Dijkstra G.
    Frontiers in Medicine 2019;6:251. doi: 10.3389/fmed.2019.00251.
  3. Bourgonje AR, von Martels JZH, Bulthuis MLC, van Londen M, Faber KN, Dijkstra G, van Goor H.
    Frontiers in Physiology 2019;10:499. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2019.00499.
  4. Bourgonje AR, Gabriëls RY, de Borst MH, Bulthuis MLC, Faber KN, van Goor H, Dijkstra G.
    Antioxidants 2019;8(9):351. doi: 10.3390/antiox8090351.
  5. Bourgonje AR *, Hu S*, Spekhorst LM*, Zhernakova DV, Vich Vila A, Li Y, Voskuil MD, van Berkel LA, Bley Folly B, Charrout M, Mahfouz A, Reinders MJT, van Heck JIP, Joosten LAB, Visschedijk MC, van Dullemen HM, Faber KN, Samsom JN, Festen EAM, Dijkstra G, Weersma RK.
    Journal of Crohn’s and Colitis 2022;16(3):414-429. doi: 10.1093/ecco-jcc/jjab157.
  6. Bourgonje AR, Alexdóttir MS, Otten AT, Loveikyte R, Bay-Jensen AC, Pehrsson M, van Dullemen HM, Visschedijk MC, Festen EAM, Weersma RK, Karsdal MA, Faber KN, Mortensen JH, Dijkstra G.
    Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics 2022;56(4):675-693. doi: 10.1111/apt.17063.
  7. Bourgonje AR, Wichers SJ, Hu S, van Dullemen HM, Visschedijk MC, Faber KN, Festen EAM, Dijkstra G, Samsom JN, Weersma RK, Spekhorst LM.
    Scientific Reports 2022;12(1):14581. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-17504-5.
  8. Bourgonje AR *, Bolte LA*, Vranckx LLC, Spekhorst LM, Gacesa R, Hu S, van Dullemen HM, Visschedijk MC, Festen EAM, Samsom JN, Dijkstra G, Weersma RK, Campmans-Kuijpers MJE.
    Nutrients 2022;14(12):2522. doi: 10.3390/nu14122522.
  9. Bourgonje AR *, Otten AT*, Sadaghian Sadabad M, von Martels JZH, Bulthuis MLC, Faber KN, van Goor H, Dijkstra G, Harmsen HJM.
    Free Radical Biology and Medicine 2022;190:169-178. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2022.08.008.
  10. Loveikyte R*, Bourgonje AR *, van der Reijden JJ, Bulthuis MLC, Hawinkels LJAC, Visschedijk MC, Festen EAM, van Dullemen HM, Weersma RK, van Goor H, van der Meulen-de Jong AE, Dijkstra G.
    Inflammatory Bowel Diseases 2023;izad010. doi: 10.1093/ibd/izad010.
  11. von Martels JZH*, Bourgonje AR *, Klaassen MAY*, Alkhalifah HAA, Sadaghian Sadabad, Vich Vila A, Gacesa R, Gabriëls RY, Steinert RE, Jansen BH, Bulthuis MLC, van Dullemen HM, Visschedijk MC, Festen EAM, Weersma RK, de Vos P, van Goor H, Faber KN, Harmsen HJM, Dijkstra G.
    Journal of Crohn’s and Colitis 2020;14(5):595-607. doi: 10.1093/ecco-jcc/jjz208.
  12. Otten AT*, Bourgonje AR *, Peters V, Alizadeh BZ, Dijkstra G, Harmsen HJM.
    Antioxidants 2021;10(8):1278. doi: 10.3390/antiox10081278.

Oxidative stress and redox medicine

In addition to my research dedicated to IBD, I am actively working on a multidisciplinary research line in which we perform translational research in the field of molecular redox biology and oxidative stress as pathophysiological disease mechanism. Oxidative stress is defined as an imbalance oxidants and antioxidants in favor of the oxidants, leading to a disruption of redox signaling and control and/or molecular damage. Oxidative stress plays a pivotal role in various inflammatory- and/or immune-mediated disease, including IBD, but also in cardiovascular-, metabolic- and neuropsychiatric diseases. My studies in this area are focused on the identification of oxidative stress/redox-related biomarkers and investigation of their potential clinical utility in oxidative stress-mediated diseases, ultimately aiming to improve patient stratification and disease management.

Some papers that exemplify this research line include the following:

  1. Bourgonje AR, Feelisch M, Pasch A, Faber KN, Dijkstra G, van Goor H.
    Trends in Molecular Medicine 2020;26(11):1034-1046. doi: 10.1016/j.molmed.2020.06.006.
  2. Bourgonje AR, Klóska D, Grochot-Przęczek A, Feelisch M, Cuadrado A, van Goor H.
    Redox Biology 2023;60:102603. doi: 10.1016/j.redox.2023.102603.
  3. Bourgonje AR, Abdulle AE, Bourgonje MF, Binnenmars SH, Gordijn SJ, Bulthuis MLC, la Bastide-van Gemert S, Kieneker LM, Gansevoort RT, Bakker SJL, Mulder DJ, Pasch A, de Borst MH, van Goor H.
    Redox Biology 2023;48:102211. doi: 10.1016/j.redox.2021.102211.
  4. Bourgonje AR, Bourgonje MF, Post A, la Bastide-van Gemert S, Kieneker LM, Bulthuis MLC, Gordijn SJ, Gansevoort RT, Bakker SJL, Mulder DJ, Pasch A, van Goor H, Abdulle AE.
    Free Radical Biology and Medicine 2023;187:123-131. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2022.05.020.
  5. Bourgonje AR, van den Berg EH, Kieneker LM, Nilsen T, Hidden C, Bakker SJL, Blokzijl H, Dullaart RPF, van Goor H, Abdulle AE.
    International Journal of Molecular Sciences 2022;23(24):15708. doi: 10.3390/ijms232415708.
  6. Bourgonje AR, Abdulle AE, Bourgonje MF, Kieneker LM, la Bastide-van Gemert S, Gordijn SJ, Hidden C, Nilsen T, Gansevoort RT, Mulder DJ, Dullaart RPF, de Borst MH, Bakker SJL, van Goor H.
    Biomolecules 2023;13(2):338. doi: 10.3390/biom13020338.
  7. Bourgonje AR, van der Vaart A, Gruppen EG, van Goor H, Bakker SJL, Connelly MA, van Dijk PR, Dullaart RPF.
    Endocrine 2023; in press. doi: 10.1007/s12020-023-03319-5.
  8. Abdulle AE*, Bourgonje AR *, Kieneker LM, Koning AM, la Bastide-van Gemert S, Bulthuis MLC, Dijkstra G, Faber KN, Dullaart RPF, Bakker SJL, Gans ROB, Gansevoort RT, Mulder DJ, Pasch A, van Goor H.
    BMC Medicine 2020;18(1):130. doi: 10.1186/s12916-020-01587-w.
  9. Damba T*, Bourgonje AR *, Abdulle AE, Pasch A, Sydor S, van den Berg EH, Gansevoort RT, Bakker SJL, Blokzijl H, Dullaart RPF, van Goor H, Moshage H.
    Liver International 2020;40(9):2148-2159. doi: 10.1111/liv.14562.
  10. Bourgonje MF, Bourgonje AR, Abdulle AE, Kieneker LM, la Bastide-van Gemert S, Gansevoort RT, Bakker SJL, Pasch A, Saleh J, Gordijn SJ, van Goor H.
    Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine 2021;8:630543. doi: 10.3389/fcvm.2021.630543.
  11. Borkent J, Ioannou M, Folkertsma TS, Wardenaar KJ, Haarman BCM, van Goor H, Sommer IEC, Bourgonje AR.
    Psychiatry Research 2023;321:115075. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2023.115075.
  12. Bourgonje MF, Abdulle AE, Kieneker LM, la Bastide-van Gemert S, Bakker SJL, Gansevoort RT, Gordijn SJ, van Goor H, Bourgonje AR.
    Antioxidants 2023;12(3):690. doi: 10.3390/antiox12030690.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)

When I was halfway my MD-PhD trajectory, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic emerged, which posed a major challenge to our society and public health. Simultaneously, it had a great impact on science, and triggered actions to unravel COVID-19 pathophysiology, to develop diagnostic methods, and to deliver therapeutic agents and vaccinations in order to combat the disease. Together with several (inter)national collaborators, this triggered me also to investigate its impact on patients with IBD and the potential contribution of biomarker discovery research. These studies highlighted the consequences of COVID-19 for patients with IBD, and the importance of biobanks and biomarkers in medicine.

Some papers that exemplify this research line include the following:

  1. Bourgonje AR *, Abdulle AE*, Timens W, Hillebrands JL, Navis GJ, Gordijn SJ, Bolling MC, Dijkstra G, Voors AA, Osterhaus ADME, van der Voort PHJ, Mulder DJ, van Goor H.
    Journal of Pathology 2020;251(3):228-248. doi: 10.1002/path.5471.
  2. Bourgonje AR, van Linschoten RCA, West RL, van Dijk MA, van Leer-Buter CC, Kats-Ugurlu G, Pierik MJ, Festen EAM, Weersma RK, Dijkstra G.
    Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology 2021;14:17562848211012595. doi: 10.1177/17562848211012595.
  3. Bourgonje AR, Offringa AK, van Eijk LE, Abdulle AE, Hillebrands JL, van der Voort PHJ, van Goor H, van Hezik EJ.
    Antioxidants & Redox Signaling 2021;35(14):1207-1225. doi: 10.1089/ars.2020.8247.
  4. Bourgonje AR, Otten AT.
    Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology 2023;S1542-3565(23)00031-9. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2022.12.030.
  5. van Eijk LE, Tami A, Hillebrands JL, den Dunnen WFA, de Borst MH, van der Voort PHJ, Bulthuis MLC, Veloo ACM, Wold KI, Vincenti González MF, van der Gun BTF, van Goor H, Bourgonje AR.
    Antioxidants 2021;10(12):2022. doi: 10.3390/antiox10122022.
  6. Otten AT*, Bourgonje AR *, Visschedijk MC.
    Lancet Gastroenterology and Hepatology 2023;8(2):99-100. doi: 10.1016/S2468-1253(22)00404-6.
  7. Otten AT*, Bourgonje AR *, Horinga PP, van der Meulen HH, Festen EAM, van Dullemen HM, Weersma RK, van Leer-Buter CC, Dijkstra G, Visschedijk MC.

    Frontiers in Immunology 2022;13:920333. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2022.92033.

Last modified:01 June 2024 7.10 p.m.