Dr. Jan Willem Cohen Tervaert

Professor and Division Director

Department of Medicine

Division of Rheumatology
    Contact details are for academic matters only.

About Me

Personal Statement:

My expertise is rheumatic diseases with a focus on vasculitis, a category of severe, autoimmune diseases that cause inflammation of the blood vessels. My goal is to develop a translational research laboratory to study (vascular) immunology here in our Department of Medicine so that we can take immunological findings in the lab, into much-needed patient care.

Dr. Cohen Tervaert was recruited from Maastricht University in 2017 as professor and director of the Department of Medicine’s Division of Rheumatology. He trained in internal medicine, nephrology and immunology in the Netherlands and was a visiting researcher in vascular biology at Harvard Medical School. 

In 1993, he returned to Groningen (as a recipient of a fellowship of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences), where he was a staff member at the Department of Clinical Immunology at the University Medical Center Groningen. In 2000, he was appointed Professor of Medicine and Immunology at the Maastricht University. Until 2012, he was the chairman of the Division of Clinical and Experimental Immunology of the Department of Internal Medicine and head of the Immunology Laboratory at the Maastricht University Medical Center. From 2012-2015, he was research director of the Sint Franciscus Vlietland Group in Rotterdam.

A specialist in immunology, he is establishing a laboratory in vascular immunology at the University of Alberta to accelerate research discoveries into new therapies for patients with systemic autoimmune diseases such as vasculitis, systemic sclerosis and dermatomyositis. 

Leadership and Collaborations
Dr. Cohen Tervaert is a founding member of the Autoimmunity Consortium, the North American Vascular Biology Organization and the Dutch Vasculitis Study Group. 

He served in several national medical leadership roles in the Netherlands. He is a former chair of the scientific advisory board of the Dutch Arthritis Foundation (“Reumafonds”) and of the Dutch Scientific Section of Nephrology. He was a board member of the Dutch Federation of Nephrology and the Dutch Society of Immunology, and a member of the scientific advisory board of The National Health Care Institute that advises the Dutch Minister of Health, Welfare, and Sports on health care coverage and medications in the Netherlands. 

Dr. Cohen Tervaert was an expert member of a WHO committee assessing autoimmunity associated with exposure to chemicals and of the Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the Environment Committee on Chromium-VI. He was also a member of the Health Council of the Netherlands committee on myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome.

He has served on the editorial board of several journals including Clinical and Experimental Immunology.

See also: Presentation to FDA (USA) – March 25, 2019


Dr. Cohen Tervaert is an experienced teacher about the role of the immune system in cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis and vasculitis. In addition, the interaction between the immune system and the development of malignancies is one of his favorite subjects to explain how the immune system works. Furthermore, with multiple case studies as examples, he loves to teach about common and rare rheumatic diseases.


Dr. Cohen Tervaert is a leading researcher in the fields of inflammation and autoimmunity of vascular disorders, such as atherosclerosis and vasculitis. His research has a special focus on genes and the interplay with environmental factors such as vitamin D, S. aureus, silica, and foreign body implantation such as silicones and polypropylene mesh in the development of autoimmunity. In 2018, he was the first scientist to publish a study of autoimmune responses in people who had polypropylene mesh implantation. The study contributed to the US and Canada banning polypropylene meshes. 

He is lead author and coauthor of more than 430 scientific articles that are cited in more than 27,000 publications. He is a member of the editorial boards of three scientific journals. His Hirsch factor as of September 2019 is 83. 

Major Grant
Fatigue in patients with vasculitis and/or other systemic autoimmune diseases.  Dutch Kidney Foundation: 2019-2023

Research Keywords

accelerated atherosclerosis in rheumatic diseases, ASIA syndrome, auto-immunity to myeloid lysosomal enzymes, clinical immunology, inflammation, pathophysiology of vasculitis, rheumatology, role of vitamin D in auto-immune diseases, translational research, vascular immunology