Prof.dr. Gert-Jan B. van Ommen, PhD, has headed the Department of Human Genetics of the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) until his emeritate in September 2012. He has founded the Leiden Genome Technology Center (LGTC), a principal genomics facility in the Netherlands.
He is Director of the Centre for Medical Systems Biology (CMSB) one of four Centers of Excellence established in 2003 by the Netherlands Genome Initiative aiming to improve diagnosis, therapy and prevention of common and rare diseases. He is board member of the Netherlands Medical Genetics Centre (MGC), and the Centre for Biomedical Genetics (CBG).
Van Ommen has as major research interests in neuromuscular and neurodegenerative diseases, with a focus on Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) and Huntington Disease (HD); and in the development and application of genome research and diagnostic technology for disease study, diagnosis, therapy and prevention, including the societal aspects of genetic advances.
As of 1998, his group has been pioneering the exon-skipping approach for therapy of DMD. After preclinical research in patient cells and mice, this approach is now the potential DMD therapy closest to market. In collaboration with the Leiden biotech company Prosensa, in 2007 the first in-man proof of concept study was performed and in 2009 Prosensa completed the first successful phase I/II systemic trial. Further exon skip developments are undertaken for HD, CADASIL, LGMD (dysferlin) and rheumatoid arthritis.
Van Ommen is a founding member of BBMRI (Biobanking and Biomolecular Research Infrastructure, the European ESFRI biobanking infrastructure established in 2007), connecting 50 partners and 150 associated partners in 27 European countries; founder and coordinator of the national Dutch biobank infrastructure BBMRI-NL, established in 2009, and board member (treasurer) of the of the Public Population Project in Genomics (P3G), the global biobanking organization, and participates in several EU FP7 Projects, including ENGAGE, analyzing GWA studies of approx. 90.000 samples across Europe.
He is Editor-in-chief of the European Journal of Human Genetics, past president of HUGO and of the European and Dutch Societies of Human Genetics. He is a member of several National, EU and HUGO committees in the fields of Genetics, Innovative Health Care, Genomics, Bioinformatics, Biobanking, Ethics and IP issues.
Meet Gert-Jan van Ommen:
21/11 At the opening and present both days