prof. dr. G.J. (Geert Jan) Biessels Full Professor
- Neurology & Neurosurgery
Vascular causes of cognitive impairment and dementia is my main area of research interest. At the UMC Brain Center of the University Medical Centre Utrecht, the Netherlands, I have established a multidisciplinary research program on vascular cognitive impairment (VCI). Our particular focus is on novel imaging markers of VCI and the role of diabetes in dementia.
Using the unique properties of high field 7T-MRI we have been able – for the first time -to detect cerebral microinfarcts in vivo and we have subsequently translated the technique to 3T-MRI, and published standards on microinfarct detection in Lancet Neurology. Currently we 1) explore small vessel disease in VCI at the level of the small vessels themselves, through novel measures of small vessel structure and function at 7T MRI, thus getting to the core disease processes and 2) improve understanding of the functional impact of vascular lesions through large multicenter lesion symptom mapping studies (to this end I established the Meta VCI Map consortium; https://metavcimap.org/ ) and white matter network studies using diffusion MRI. With regard to diabetes, we have characterized trajectories and stages of cognitive dysfunction and established underlying structural brain changes with MRI. We recently completed two large multicentre RCTs on prevention of cognitive decline in patients with in type 2 diabetes.
I work with international collaborators in Munich, Boston, Edinburgh, San Francisco, Hong Kong and Singapore and participate in the multinational EU-funded research program on cerebral small vessel disease named SVDs@target. In 2015 I received the senior investigator award of the European Stroke Organisation (ESO) and in 2016 I was appointed Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians Edinburgh in recognition of my work.
Vascular Cognitive Impairment
Recent key publications
Exalto,LG, Biessels,GJ, Karter,AJ, Huang,ES, Katon,WJ, Minkoff,JR, Whitmer,RA: Risk score for individualized prediction of ten year dementia risk in type 2 diabetes: the Diabetes and Aging study. Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinol 1: 2013
van Veluw,SJ, Zwanenburg,JJ, Engelen-Lee,J, Spliet,WG, Hendrikse,J, Luijten,PR, Biessels,GJ: In vivo detection of cerebral cortical microinfarcts with high-resolution 7T MRI. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab 33:322-329, 2013
Wardlaw,JM, Smith,EE, Biessels,GJ, …., Dichgans,M: Neuroimaging standards for research into small vessel disease and its contribution to ageing and neurodegeneration. Lancet Neurol 12:822-838, 2013
Smith EE, Saposnik G, Biessels GJ…. Seshadri S; Prevention of Stroke in Patients With Silent Cerebrovascular Disease: A Scientific Statement for Healthcare Professionals From the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Stroke 2017 Feb;48(2):e44-e71.
Detection, risk factors, and functional consequences of cerebral microinfarcts. van Veluw SJ, Shih AY, Smith EE, Chen C, Schneider JA, Wardlaw JM, Greenberg SM, Biessels GJ. Lancet Neurol. 2017 Sep;16(9):730-740.
Biessels GJ, Despa F Cognitive decline and dementia in diabetes mellitus: mechanisms and clinical implications. Nat Rev Endocrinol 14: 591-604, 2018
Geurts LJ, Zwanenburg JJM, Klijn CJM, Luijten PR, Biessels GJ. Higher Pulsatility in Cerebral Perforating Arteries in Patients With Small Vessel Disease Related Stroke, a 7T MRI Study. Stroke 2018: STROKEAHA118022516
Smith EE, Biessels GJ, De Guio F, …, Dichgans M, Wardlaw JM. Harmonizing brain magnetic resonance imaging methods for vascular contributions to neurodegeneration. Alzheimers Dement (Amst) 2019; 11: 191-204.
Biessels GJ, Verhagen C, Janssen J, van den Berg E, Zinman B, Rosenstock J, George JT, Passera A, Schnaidt S, Johansen OE, investigators C. Effect of Linagliptin on Cognitive Performance in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiorenal Comorbidities: The CARMELINA Randomized Trial. Diabetes Care 2019.
Weaver NA, Zhao L, Biesbroek JM, Kuijf HJ, Aben HP, Bae HJ, Caballero MAA, Chappell FM, Chen C, Dichgans M, Duering M, Georgakis MK, van der Giessen RS, Gyanwali B, Hamilton OKL, Hilal S, Vom Hofe EM, de Kort PLM, Koudstaal PJ, Lam BYK, Lim JS, Makin SDJ, Mok VCT, Shi L, Valdes Hernandez MC, Venketasubramanian N, Wardlaw JM, Wollenweber FA, Wong A, Xin X, Meta VCI Map consortium, Biessels GJ. The Meta VCI Map consortium for meta-analyses on strategic lesion locations for vascular cognitive impairment using lesion-symptom mapping: Design and multicenter pilot study. Alzheimers Dement (Amst) 2019; 11: 310-26.
GJ Biessels consults for and receives research support from Boehringer Ingelheim. All financial compensation for these services is transferred to his employer, the UMCU Utrecht.
Fellowship and Awards
1998: Dutch Association for Pharmacology, best thesis: Cerebral function in diabetes mellitus
1999: Neurodiab prize for preclinical science. Neurodiab is the official diabetic neuropathy study group of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD)
2015: Senior Investigator Award European Stroke Organisation
2015: Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians Edinburgh
2004: Cognitive dysfunction in DM2: course of development and relation to vascular disease. (2004-2009), Career Development Grant from the Dutch Diabetes Foundation.
2005: Glucose, insulin and cerebrovascular disease: impact on cognition (2005-2009). Clinical Fellowship from Dutch Research Council (ZonMW).
2006: Vascular cognitive impairment: interactions between clinical features, brain imaging and memory (2006-2011). High Potential grant University of Utrecht, together with RPC Kessels
2010: ‘Diabetes and vascular damage: who is at risk for dementia?’, VIDI, from Dutch Research Council (ZonMW).
2010: Vascular cognitive impairment: the hidden burden of cerebrovascular disease, Clinical Established Investigator Grant, Nederlandse Hartstichting
2015: Senior Investigator Award of European Stroke Organisation (ESO) for VCI research program
2016: Microvascular function and brain networks: Keys to understanding the vascular burden in dementia. VICI, from Dutch Research Council (NWO).