Arn van den Maagdenberg
Professor Molecular and functional neurogenetics
Arn M.J.M. van den Maagdenberg is professor of molecular and functional neurogenetics at the departments of Human Genetics and Neurology of the Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC). In addition, he is vice-chair of the medicine education committee and chair of the advisory board of the LUMC Medical Research Profile ‘Translational Neuroscience’. He is also member of the advisory boards of the Dutch Epilepsy Fund, the ‘American Registry for Migraine Research’ (ARMR), and the world-wide ‘Global Migraine Registry’ (GMR) initiative.
Genetic and functional brain research
The brain is our most complex organ. It is intriguing why in patients there seems to be a short circuit in the brain so attacks of migraine, epilepsy or stroke can occur. It is largely unknown what enhances the susceptibility for such attacks. Unraveling the molecular and neurobiological mechanisms that lead to these attacks to find better treatments is my major challenge, according to van den Maagdenberg.
His genetic and functional brain research has provided clear indications that the function of brain cells and the communication with blood vessels is compromised. The search for better treatment of patients with paroxysmal disorders uses this information in various ways. With renowed headache specialists of the LUMC and their patient-related research, but also with advanced animal models, developed within the LUMC. More recently, cultured human organ structures are used to ensure a more direct translation to the clinic. Such combination of models will yield answers that benefit the patient. This translational research approach is perfectly in line with the “National Wetenschaps agenda”of to approach brain dysfunction from a personalised medicine persective.
Arn M.J.M. van den Maagdenberg studied Biology at the Catholic University Nijmegen and received his PhD from Leiden University. The title of his thesis (1993) was ‘Genetic and functional analysis of apolipoprotein E’. Next van den Maagdenberg performed genetic and functional research on various disorders at the department of cell biology and histology of the Radboud University Nijmegen and the departments of human genetics and neurology in Leiden. In 2011 he was appointed professor of Neurogenetics at the Leiden University Medical Centre The title of his inaugural lecture was ‘Samenwerken is hersenwerk’
For more than 20 years, van den Maagdenberg investigates the molecular and functional mechanisms of paroxysmal brain disorders, foremost migraine, epilepsy and stroke. He co-authored some 250 scientific publications, including various influential review articles, and multiple book chapters. He is member of various scientific advisory boards, including the Dutch Epilepsy Fund, and international initiatives, such as the ‘American Registry for Migraine Research’ (ARMR) and the ‘Global Migraine Registry’ (GMR).
Prizes and honourable appointments
Van den Maagdenberg is recipient of the C.J. Kok Award 2004 (LUMC): “Migraine: from patient to mice ….. and back again” and the "Migraine Trust Lecture" at the European Headache and Migraine Trust International Congress 2010 (EHMTIC; Nice): "Genetics in Migraine: from Genes to Phenotypes". In addition, he won the general audience prize 2010 (Publieksprijs) for “In de aanval”, an annual competition for best communication of science to the general Dutch public (Academische Jaarprijs), as part of the LUMC migraine team.