prof. dr. L.H. (Leonard) van den Berg

prof. dr. L.H. (Leonard) van den Berg

Full Professor
prof. dr. L.H. (Leonard) van den Berg
  • Neurologen
  • 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.

Research line

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

Side Activities

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’.

Research Output (561)

High-resolution mapping identifies HLA class II associations with multifocal motor neuropathy

Bos Jeroen W., Otten Henny G., Herraets Ingrid J.T., Goedee H. Stephan, Cats E. A., de Hoop Talitha, Verduijn Willem, van der Pol W. Ludo, van den Berg Leonard H. mei 2021, In: Neurobiology of Aging. 101 , p. 79-84 6 p.

Discussing personalized prognosis in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis:development of a communication guide

van Eenennaam Remko M, Kruithof Willeke J, van Es Michael A, Kruitwagen-van Reenen Esther T, Westeneng Henk-Jan, Visser-Meily Johanna M A, van den Berg Leonard H, Beelen Anita 14 dec 2020, In: BMC Neurology. 20 , p. 1-11

Genome-wide association study of intracranial aneurysms identifies 17 risk loci and genetic overlap with clinical risk factors

Bakker Mark K., van der Spek Rick A.A., van Rheenen Wouter, Morel Sandrine, Bourcier Romain, Hostettler Isabel C., Alg Varinder S., van Eijk Kristel R., Koido Masaru, Akiyama Masato, Terao Chikashi, Matsuda Koichi, Walters Robin, Lin Kuang, Li Liming, Millwood Iona Y., Chen Zhengming, Rouleau Guy A., Zhou Sirui, Rannikmäe Kristiina, Sudlow Cathie L.M., Houlden Henry, van den Berg Leonard H., Dina Christian, Naggara Olivier, Gentric Jean Christophe, Shotar Eimad, Eugène François, Desal Hubert, Winsvold Bendik S., Børte Sigrid, Johnsen Marianne Bakke, Brumpton Ben M., Sandvei Marie Søfteland, Willer Cristen J., Hveem Kristian, Zwart John Anker, Verschuren W. M.Monique, Friedrich Christoph M., Hirsch Sven, Schilling Sabine, Dauvillier Jérôme, Martin Olivier, Bian Zheng, Chen Junshi, Klijn Catharina J.M., Rinkel Gabriel J.E., Lindgren Antti, Veldink Jan H., Ruigrok Ynte M., , , , , , , dec 2020, In: Nature Genetics. 52 , p. 1303-1313 11 p.

Blood metal levels and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis risk:a prospective cohort

Peters Susan, Broberg Karin, Gallo Valentina, Levi Michael, Kippler Maria, Vineis Paolo, Veldink Jan, van den Berg Leonard, Middleton Lefkos, Travis Ruth C, Bergmann Manuela M, Palli Domenico, Grioni Sara, Tumino Rosario, Elbaz Alexis, Vlaar Tim, Mancini Francesca, Kühn Tilman, Katzke Verena, Agudo Antonio, Goñi Fernando, Gómez Jesús-Humberto, Rodríguez-Barranco Miguel, Merino Susana, Barricarte Aurelio, Trichopoulou Antonia, Jenab Mazda, Weiderpass Elisabete, Vermeulen Roel 17 okt 2020, In: Annals of Neurology. 89 , p. 125-133 9 p.

Dutch population structure across space, time and GWAS design

Byrne Ross P, van Rheenen Wouter, van den Berg Leonard H, Veldink Jan H, McLaughlin Russell L, 11 sep 2020, In: Nature Communications. 11 , p. 1-11

Excitability of motor and sensory axons in multifocal motor neuropathy

Kovalchuk Maria O, Franssen Hessel, van den Berg Leonard H, van Schelven Leonard J, Sleutjes Boudewijn T H M 26 aug 2020, In: Clinical Neurophysiology. 131 , p. 2641-2650 10 p.

Current trends in the clinical trial landscape for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

van Eijk Ruben P A, Kliest Tessa, van den Berg Leonard H 10 aug 2020, In: Current Opinion in Neurology. 33 , p. 655-661 7 p.

Is it accurate to classify ALS as a neuromuscular disorder?

van Es Michael A, Goedee H Stephan, Westeneng Henk-Jan, Nijboer Tanja C W, van den Berg Leonard H 4 aug 2020, In: Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics. 20 , p. 895-906 12 p.

Muscle strength and motor function in adolescents and adults with spinal muscular atrophy

Wijngaarde Camiel A, Stam Marloes, Otto Louise A M, Bartels Bart, Asselman Fay-Lynn, van Eijk Ruben P A, van den Berg Leonard H, Goedee H Stephan, Wadman Renske I, Ludo van der Pol W 30 jul 2020, In: Neurology. 95 , p. e1988-e1998

Clinical outcomes in multifocal motor neuropathy:A combined cross-sectional and follow-up study

Herraets Ingrid, van Rosmalen Marieke, Bos Jeroen, van Eijk Ruben, Cats Elies, Jongbloed Bas, Vlam Lotte, Piepers Sanne, Jan-Thies van Asseldonk, Goedee H Stephan, van den Berg Leonard, Ludo van der Pol W 30 jul 2020, In: Neurology. 95 , p. e1979-e1987

All research output

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