Skip to main content
  • Hans van Leeuwen, Ph.D. - President-Elect Candidate

    Professor, Erasmus MC

    What prior experience do you bring that you believe will help to accomplish or address the Society’s current goals and issues?

    In short, I have established and led a program on calcium and bone metabolism at Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. I have a collaborative spirit and developed a large network in our field and I am aware of the developments, opportunities and challenges in our field. I have been Dean and vice-chair of the Executive Board of the Erasmus MC. I have been director of Research and Education and head of research at Department of Internal Medicine at Erasmus MC. I have served ASBMR at various levels, most recently as secretary-treasurer. In addition, I have obtained expertise in running a scientific society as board member of various (inter)national societies, a.o. ECTS and AIMM. Finally, as Dean and vice-chair of Erasmus MC I have served at numerous (inter)national governance bodies which provided me knowledge of and expertise in leadership in both scientific/clinical and non-scientific organizations.

    What would you like to accomplish during your tenure as a volunteer leader?

    I want to successfully execute our strategy and to fulfil our mission and goals that have been set. The current strategy runs until 2025. An important focus during my presidency is executing the strategy but at the same time retaining flexibility as society to act upon external developments. At the core of all our actions should be the value that ASBMR can bring to members and patients. Goals like DEI and membership engagement and strengthening the position of the committees and their internal coherence and collaboration. Stabilizing/increasing membership is important, and we need to know and adapt to the nowadays members’ needs from a scientific society.  I aim to be an inspiration and together with the leadership of the ASBMT guide our society into the future and provide a solid basis for an agile and healthy society that is the global home for musculoskeletal science and patient care. My presidency will exemplify the global outreach of ASBMR.

    What are one or two ideas that you would like to implement to address issues facing our membership and the Society?

    We should aim to further develop ASBMR into a “year-round” society that brings value throughout year. With the Primer and our journals, we have excellent tools to do so. We should pay attention to collaborations and bridge gaps between expertise. For example, ASBMR is the home of excellent fundamental, (genetic-)epidemiological and clinical science. But these areas sometimes seem to life in separate worlds. Our field and the patients will benefit if the ASBMR is able to facilitate interaction and accelerate turning the wealth of data into clinical value. This may need introducing new instruments and expertise to foster scientific coherence. Hereby ASBMR will also be the natural home for rare diseases and develop into an even stronger and dynamic interactive “musculoskeletal community” that pushes scientific and clinical boundaries to help our patients and fulfil our mission. We need to investigate our relationship and collaboration with smaller, focused societies (e.g. bone marrow fat, bone cancer). Last but certainly not least, we need to strengthen the involvement of young, early-stage scientists. Hereby, a transition from passive to more active engagement is important. Currently several young investigator activities are organized for early-stage researchers. An important next step will be to create possibilities in which they will get responsibilities in running our society and for organizing activities/events as part of the annual meeting and other year-round activities. 

    Biographical Information:

    I was born in The Netherlands where I studied Biology at the Free University in Amsterdam. I did my Ph.D. training at Leiden University in the laboratory that was in the 60’s and 70’s of the previous century one to the globally leading laboratories in bone metabolism and at the forefront of development of nowadays standard bone explant and bone cell cultures. While discussing post-doctoral positions in the USA and Canada I got a tenure track offer to build and expand a bone research program from Erasmus University Medical Center (Erasmus MC), Rotterdam in The Netherlands. Although still very young, I took that challenge. My PhD research on parathyroid hormone mechanism of action shifted to vitamin D, bone cell biology, and focused more directly on bone diseases. Vitamin D has been the recurring theme in my research with studies at molecular and cellular level in relation to bone formation and cancer(metastasis). The overall theme of the research program is to identify therapeutic targets and diagnostic tools for bone diseases. Bone and stem cell studies are geared to understand the molecular processes underlying cellular differentiation and osteoblast function with the goal to identify bone anabolic targets. I initiated the Erasmus MC genetics of osteoporosis program, that had its roots in the Rotterdam Study, with the aim to bring genetic determinants to diagnostics and to develop tailor-made (e.g. concerning dosage) therapies. In the last years, a new program started aiming to repair gene defects in rare skeletal disorders, for example craniosynostosis. The annual ASBMR meeting has been instrumental for my research at a scientific and personal level.

    Collaboration and team science are key words in my scientific career. This is, among others exemplified by multiple research consortium grants at national and European level. I enjoyed participating in European Union Marie Curie Grants focusing on education, training and building networks of young scientists from across the globe. They form the future of science. Working in these research consortia demonstrated the value of sharing knowledge and data and the power of collaboration with scientists with different expertise and from a different background. In this way I have directly experienced the stimulation and joy of working in diverse and inclusive teams. This experience is also reflected by my own research team with over the years PhD students and post-doctoral researchers from all over the world, including Russia, USA, Turkey, Austria, China, Italy, Germany, Brazil etc., all sharing the passion for science. The importance of diversity and inclusion is shown by daily life in Rotterdam with about 180 different nationalities and by the diverse background of our Medical and Clinical Technology students. This makes it very clear that diagnosis and treatment should not only be based on Caucasian data. Commitment to bridging societal gaps and socioeconomic differences is shown by my endeavors to connect our academic world with society. I initiated the participation of Erasmus MC in Science Gallery International where scientists, artists, and young people (from non-academic background) discuss societal and scientific challenges leading to mutual inspiration, novel scientific questions and art products and exhibitions.

    In addition to research and education, I have served Erasmus MC as Head of Research of the department of Internal Medicine, Director of Research and Education, and as Dean and Vice-Chair of the Executive Board. I served our broader scientific community in various roles. I was board member of the Dutch Association for Calcium and Bone Metabolism and executive board member of the European Calcified Tissue Society. I was involved in organizing numerous international scientific meetings, including annual ECTS meetings, Vitamin D workshops, meetings of the International Society for Extracellular Vesicles. I have been an actively participating ASBMR member for my entire career. I participated in abstract review committees for the ASBMR Annual Meetings and completed a full term on the Membership Development Committee. I served ASMBR as Council member, Member of Program Committee (Chair Translational Science Committee) of the 2019 Annual meeting, and most recently as Secretary-Treasurer. Also, I served as board member for the Advance in Mineral Metabolism meeting which is closely related to ASBMR and John Haddad young investigator award.

    It will be a great honour to serve ASBMR as president and give back to a society that meant so much for me since my first visit to an annual meeting. With my scientific and managerial expertise, I want help our society in a rapidly changing world and work on the future of ASBMR so that it can be an inspirational and safe scientific home for all, with special focus on our young and starting scientists and doctors.


This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Review our Policies and Procedures for more details