Geert Jan Biessels
UMC Utrecht, the Netherlands
Geert Jan Biessels is a Professor of neurology with a chair on cerebrovascular disease and cognition within the Brain Center Rudolf Magnus at the University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands. He obtained his Ph.D. in 1997 and registered as a neurologist in 2004. His major research interest is vascular cognitive impairment (VCI), focusing on etiological research using novel MRI markers and on the role of diabetes.
Using the unique properties of high field 7T-MRI his group has been able – for the first time - to detect cerebral microinfarcts in vivo and subsequently translated the technique to 3T-MRI. His team is currently assessing structure and function of the small vessels themselves, using advanced techniques at 7T-MRI, thus getting closer to the core of cerebral small vessel diseases (SVD). They also employ brain network analyses and lesion symptom mapping techniques in order to better understand the cognitive impact of vascular brain injury. He is PI of the TRACE-VCI study, the META VCI map initiative and the Dutch Heart Brain Connection program.
With regard to diabetes, he has characterized trajectories and stages of cognitive dysfunction and established underlying structural brain changes with MRI. He is PI of two large multicenters RCTs on the prevention of cognitive decline in patients with type 2 diabetes.
He has mentored 40 Ph.D. students and boasts over 250 publications on VCI related topics. He has received several prestigious Dutch personal research grants. In 2015 he received the Senior Investigator award of the European Stroke Organization (ESO) and in 2016 he was appointed Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians Edinburgh in recognition of his work.