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 (515)

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. 446

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.

The Beginning of Genomic Therapies for ALS

Hardiman Orla, van den Berg Leonard H 9 jul 2020, In: The New England journal of medicine. 383 , p. 180-181 2 p.

Natural history of lung function in spinal muscular atrophy

Wijngaarde Camiel A., Veldhoen Esther S., van Eijk Ruben P.A., Stam Marloes, Otto Louise A.M., Asselman Fay Lynn, Wösten-van Asperen Roelie M., Hulzebos Erik H.J., Verweij-van den Oudenrijn Laura P., Bartels Bart, Cuppen Inge, Wadman Renske I., van den Berg Leonard H., van der Ent Cornelis K., van der Pol W. Ludo 10 apr 2020, In: Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases. 15 , p. 88 11 p.

The current use of telehealth in ALS care and the barriers to and facilitators of implementation:a systematic review

Helleman Jochem, Kruitwagen Esther T, van den Berg Leonard H, Visser-Meily Johanna M A, Beelen Anita 26 dec 2019, In: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontotemporal Degeneration. 21 , p. 167-182 16 p.

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.

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

Associations of autozygosity with a broad range of human phenotypes

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

All Research Output (515)