Nicolai Bjødstrup Palstrøm - PhD Scholarship 2021

Project summary:
Biomarkers can predict abdominal aortic aneurysm growth and rupture risk

Abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) are a life-threatening disease which in many cases is asymptomatic and AAA’s can suddenly rupture and cause severe internal bleeding leading to high mortality. It is the hypothesis of the current project that AAA growth causes changes in the composition of a range of plasma proteins related to disease progression, that can be measured and used to predict the presence and risk of rupture of AAA. The goal is to develop a screening tool for identifying patients with AAA’s and patients in risk of rupture.

Project Title

Identification of plasma protein biomarkers predictive of abdominal aortic aneurysm growth and risk of rupture


Abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) is a life-threatening disease defined by the expansion of the vessel wall of the abdominal part of the aorta that exceeds 30 mm in diameter. AAA’s has a risk of bursting unexpectedly, which results in severe internal bleeding where the majority of patients die before hospitalization. The majority of AAA cases are discovered by chance primarily because most patients with AAA are asymptomatic until the aneurysm has either grown significantly or prior to imminent rupture. Thus, better and easier tools for diagnosis and prognosis of AAA’s are greatly needed.


The aim of my PhD project is to identify plasma proteins associated with the presence and progression of AAA for the development of appropriate screening tools for AAA.


  • Development of a high-throughput plasma proteomics platform capable of analyzing several thousand proteins in larger patient cohorts, than what is currently possible.
  • Explorative proteomic analysis of 3200 plasma samples from two independent cohorts (discovery and validation cohort)
  • Bioinformatics and biostatistics analysis of proteome data for identification of proteins related to diagnosis and prognosis of AAA

Nicolai Bjødstrup Palstrøm

  • M.Sc. in Biomedicine
  • Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Odense University Hospital / Department of Clinical Research, University of Southern Denmark

Main supervisor:

Associate Professor Hans Christian Beck, Deparment of Clinical Biochemistry, Odense University Hospital


Professor Jes Sanddal Lindholt, Department of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery, Odense University Hospital

Associate Professor Mette Sørensen Thinggaard, Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Biodemography, University of Southern Denmark


  • Associate Professor Rune Matthiesen, Computational and Experimental Biology Group, Nova Medical School, Portugal