Dr. Leonard H. van den Berg is a professor of neurology who holds a chair in experimental neurology of motor neuron diseases at the University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands. He also is director of the center’s Laboratory for Neuromuscular Disease, director of the Netherlands ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) Center, chairman of the Neuromuscular Centre the Netherlands, and chairman of the European Network to Cure ALS (ENCALS), a network of the European ALS Centres.
Dr. 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 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.