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Renee Maas - 1.Try-angle_RM.jpg
Renee Maas - 2.The_intertwined_heart_RM.png
The intertwined heart
Cells & Tissues


Inspiration and composition


Renee uses her photographs to offer people a view into the fascinating features of the heart. Her images depict some of the most important cell types and proteins responsible for the functioning of a healthy heart. She finds beauty in the multiple cell types and cell functions working together to enable performances like physical activities and feeling. 

After having exhibited her pictures before, Renee started looking at them from a new perspective. In ‘The Intertwined heart’ she recognized the Lego blocks she played with as a child. The different parts of heart cells reminded her of stacking Lego blocks in different colors onto each other. 

She saw triangles in her other photograph which explains the title ‘Try-Angle’ as a play-on-words to suggest the process of trying different approaches within research before

improvement can be made. ‘Try-Angle’ emphasizes the importance of the neurons growing into the heart, a crucial step in development. Early on in the developing heart, the heart cells spontaneously start to beat, but they need the neurons to grow in, to give the heart cells a pulse. This is exactly what Renee shows us. In green, neurons are shown innervating heart cells (red). If this process is unsuccessful, the heart won’t grow, and life cannot continue. 

“The heart is very limited in regeneration. Most heart cells you are born with, you die with. One single heart cell beats 100.000 times per day, sometimes over 80 years. This means that the “car” (the cell) stays the same, but the “car parts” (proteins) need to be changed during the years.” 

The artist

About Renee Maas

In Renee’s research field of cardiology - within the PhD program Regenerative Medicine - candidates study genetic heart diseases. They transform induced stem cells into beating heart cells. These cells start beating within a week, enabling the researchers to study a person’s heart in a dish. Their aim is to unravel mechanisms and potential therapies for people with heart diseases. 

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