prof. dr. L.H. (Leonard) van den Berg Full Professor
- Neurology & Neurosurgery
- Neurology & Neurosurgery
Leonard van den Berg did a fellowship at the Neurological Institute at Columbia University in New York and obtained his PhD degree in 1995 in Utrecht. He has been professor of Experimental Neurology since 2005 and leads a research group focused on translational research into ALS and other diseases of motor neurons. His research has been focused on the search for effective treatment for patients with motor neuron diseases and motor neuropathies by delineating the biological and molecular pathways that initiate and/or drive motor neuron degeneration. These efforts are based on clinical, lifestyle, environmental,genetic and imaging data obtained from large population-based case–control studies. Part of the research activity has been focused on characterizing the phenotype, diagnosis, pathology and treatment options for multifocal motor neuropathy, which is an important treatable ALS mimic. He is principal investigator of the largest, prospective population-based case-control study in ALS (PAN) to provide class I level of evidence of both environmental/lifestyle and genetic factors that determine risk and outcome of ALS and related motor neuron disorders. His research group has strong bioinformatic expertise in genome-wide association studies, copy number variation, gene expression pathways and other systems biology approaches. He is founder and director of The Netherlands ALS Center, which aims to improve the diagnosis, treatment/care and scientific research for ALS in The Netherlands. He promotes international collaborations on ALS research as chairman of the European Network to find the Cure for ALS (ENCALS)) and as coordinator of awarded EU grants (FP7 Euro-MOTOR (systems biology), JPND SOPHIA (biomarkers)).He promotes international collaborations on ALS research as chairman of the European Network for the Cure of ALS (ENCALS)), as coordinator of awarded EU grants (FP7 Euro-MOTOR(systems biology), JPND SOPHIA (biomarkers)) and as initiator of the worldwide ALS genetics research Project MinE.
Neuromuscular Disease, Motor Neuron Disease
Most recent key publications
1: Walhout R, Westeneng HJ, Verstraete E, Hendrikse J, Veldink JH, van den Heuvel MP*, van den Berg LH*. Cortical thickness in ALS: towards a marker for upper motor neuron involvement. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2015;86:288-94.
2: Diekstra FP, Van Deerlin VM, van Swieten JC, Al-Chalabi A, Ludolph AC, Weishaupt JH, Hardiman O, Landers JE, Brown RH Jr, van Es MA, Pasterkamp RJ, Koppers M, Andersen PM, Estrada K, Rivadeneira F, Hofman A, Uitterlinden AG, van Damme P, Melki J, Meininger V, Shatunov A, Shaw CE, Leigh PN, Shaw PJ, Morrison KE, Fogh I, Chiò A, Traynor BJ, Czell D, Weber M, Heutink P, de Bakker PI, Silani V, Robberecht W, Veldink JH*, van den Berg LH*. C9orf72 and UNC13A are shared risk loci for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia: A genome-wide meta-analysis. Ann Neurol 2014;76:120-33.
3: Van den Berg LH. Therapy of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis remains a challenge. Lancet Neurol 2014;13:1062-3
4: Vlam L, van der Pol WL, Cats EA, Straver DC, Piepers S, Franssen H, van den Berg LH. Multifocal motor neuropathy: diagnosis, pathogenesis and treatment strategies. Nature Rev Neurol 2011;8:48-58.
5: Hardiman O, van den Berg LH, Kiernan MC. Clinical diagnosis and management of ALS. Nat Rev Neurol. 2011 Oct 11;7(11):639-49
Chair section Motor Neuron Diseases, European Reference Network - EURO-NMD
Chair executive board, European Network for the Cure of ALS (ENCCALS)
Director, Netherlands Neuromuscular Centre
Fellowship and Awards
2015 'Winkler award' from the Dutch Association for Neurology recognizing the largest scientific contribution to neurological science over the past 5 years.
2013 'Forbes Norris award' for high-impact ALS research results in trials, epidemiology and care combined with a major role in the delivery of evidence-based multidisciplinary ALS care.
2011 ‘Sheila Essey Award’ from the American Academy of Neurology (‘This award recognizes an individual who has made significant research contributions in the search for the cause, prevention of, and cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis’)
2011-2016 Personal grant ZonMw (VICI ). ‘Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: disease or syndrome?’
2008-2013 Prinses Beatrix Fonds Neuromuscular Research Prize. ‘The identification and validation of biomarkers for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis’.
2002-2007 Personal grant ZonMw (VIDI subsidie). ‘Genetic susceptibility factors in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis’.
1997-2002 Personal grant (KNAW-onderzoeker). ‘Elucidation of the molecular basis of the cross-reactive immune response to Campylobacter jejuni and peripheral nerve tissue in patients with the Guillain-Barre syndrome using phage antibody display technology’.