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

Full Professor

  • Neurologen
  • Neurology & Neurosurgery

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


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 (509)

Human genetics and neuropathology suggest a link between miR-218 and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis pathophysiology

Reichenstein Irit, Eitan Chen, Diaz-Garcia Sandra, Haim Guy, Magen Iddo, Siany Aviad, Hoye Mariah L, Rivkin Natali, Olender Tsviya, Toth Beata, Ravid Revital, Mandelbaum Amitai D, Yanowski Eran, Liang Jing, Rymer Jeffrey K, Levy Rivka, Beck Gilad, Ainbinder Elena, Farhan Sali M K, Lennox Kimberly A, Bode Nicole M, Behlke Mark A, Möller Thomas, Saxena Smita, Moreno Cristiane A M, Costaguta Giancarlo, van Eijk Kristel R, Phatnani Hemali, Al-Chalabi Ammar, Başak A Nazli, van den Berg Leonard H, Hardiman Orla, Landers John E, Mora Jesus S, Morrison Karen E, Shaw Pamela J, Veldink Jan H, Pfaff Samuel L, Yizhar Ofer, Gross Christina, Brown Robert H, Ravits John M, Harms Matthew B, Miller Timothy M, Hornstein Eran 18 dec 2019, In: Science Translational Medicine. 11 12 p.

Drug treatment for spinal muscular atrophy type I

Wadman Renske I, van der Pol W Ludo, Bosboom Wendy Mj, Asselman Fay-Lynn, van den Berg Leonard H, Iannaccone Susan T, Vrancken Alexander Fje 11 dec 2019, In: The Cochrane database of systematic reviews. 12 48 p.

WGS-based telomere length analysis in Dutch family trios implicates stronger maternal inheritance and a role for RRM1 gene

Nersisyan Lilit, Nikoghosyan Maria, Arakelyan Arsen, Francioli Laurent C., Menelaou Androniki, Pulit Sara L., Elbers Clara C., Kloosterman Wigard P., van Setten Jessica, Nijman Isaäc J., Renkens Ivo, de Bakker Paul I.W., van Dijk Freerk, Neerincx Pieter B.T., Deelen Patrick, Kanterakis Alexandros, Dijkstra Martijn, Byelas Heorhiy, van der Velde K. Joeri, Platteel Mathieu, Swertz Morris A., Wijmenga Cisca, Palamara Pier Francesco, Pe’er Itsik, Ye Kai, Ye Kai, Lameijer Eric Wubbo, Moed Matthijs H., Beekman Marian, de Craen Anton J.M., Suchiman H. Eka D., Slagboom P. Eline, Guryev Victor, Abdellaoui Abdel, Jan Hottenga Jouke, Kattenberg Mathijs, Willemsen Gonneke, Boomsma Dorret I., van Leeuwen Elisabeth M., Karssen Lennart C., Amin Najaf, Rivadeneira Fernando, Isaacs Aaron, Hofman Albert, Uitterlinden André G., van Duijn Cornelia M., van Oven Mannis, Kayser Manfred, Veldink Jan H., van den Berg Leonard H., 1 dec 2019, In: Scientific Reports. 9

Associations of autozygosity with a broad range of human phenotypes

Clark David W et al. 1 dec 2019, In: Nature Communications. 10

Exome array analysis of rare and low frequency variants in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Dekker Annelot M, Diekstra Frank P, Pulit Sara L, Tazelaar Gijs H P, van der Spek Rick A, van Rheenen Wouter, van Eijk Kristel R, Calvo Andrea, Brunetti Maura, Damme Philip Van, Robberecht Wim, Hardiman Orla, McLaughlin Russell, Chiò Adriano, Sendtner Michael, Ludolph Albert C, Weishaupt Jochen H, Pardina Jesus S Mora, van den Berg Leonard H, Veldink Jan H 1 dec 2019, In: Scientific Reports. 9

Sensorimotor ECoG Signal Features for BCI Control:A Comparison Between People With Locked-In Syndrome and Able-Bodied Controls

Freudenburg Zachary V, Branco Mariana P, Leinders Sacha, van der Vijgh Benny H, Pels Elmar G M, Denison Timothy, van den Berg Leonard H, Miller Kai J, Aarnoutse Erik J, Ramsey Nick F, Vansteensel Mariska J 16 okt 2019, In: Frontiers in Neuroscience. 13

Prospective natural history study of C9orf72 ALS clinical characteristics and biomarkers

Cammack Alexander J, Atassi Nazem, Hyman Theodore, van den Berg Leonard H, Harms Matthew, Baloh Robert H, Brown Robert H, van Es Michael A, Veldink Jan H, de Vries Balint S, Rothstein Jeffrey D, Drain Caroline, Jockel-Balsarotti Jennifer, Malcolm Amber, Boodram Sonia, Salter Amber, Wightman Nicholas, Yu Hong, Sherman Alexander V, Esparza Thomas J, McKenna-Yasek Diane, Owegi Margaret A, Douthwright Catherine, McCampbell Alexander, Ferguson Toby, Cruchaga Carlos, Cudkowicz Merit, Miller Timothy M, 2 okt 2019, In: Neurology. 93 , p. e1605-e1617

A case of ALS with posterior cortical atrophy

Nijboer Tanja C.W., Nitert Bram, Westeneng Henk Jan, Van Den Berg Leonard H., van Es Michael A. 2 okt 2019, In: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontotemporal Degeneration. 20 , p. 506-510 5 p.

Validated inference of smoking habits from blood with a finite DNA methylation marker set

Maas Silvana C E, Vidaki Athina, Wilson Rory, Teumer Alexander, Liu Fan, van Meurs Joyce B J, Uitterlinden André G, Boomsma Dorret I, de Geus Eco J C, Willemsen Gonneke, van Dongen Jenny, van der Kallen Carla J H, Slagboom P Eline, Beekman Marian, van Heemst Diana, van den Berg Leonard H, Duijts Liesbeth, Jaddoe Vincent W V, Ladwig Karl-Heinz, Kunze Sonja, Peters Annette, Ikram M Arfan, Grabe Hans J, Felix Janine F, Waldenberger Melanie, Franco Oscar H, Ghanbari Mohsen, Kayser Manfred, 7 sep 2019, In: European Journal of Epidemiology. 34 , p. 1055-1074 20 p.

Magnetic resonance imaging of the cervical spinal cord in spinal muscular atrophy

Stam Marloes, Haakma Wieke, Kuster Lidy, Froeling Martijn, Philippens Marielle E P, Bos Clemens, Leemans Alexander, Otto Louise A M, van den Berg Leonard H, Hendrikse Jeroen, van der Pol W Ludo 3 sep 2019, In: Neuroimage: Clinical [E]. 24 9 p.

All Research Output (509)