Professor M.S. van der Knaap
Prof. van der Knaap is professor and head of the research group “White matter disorders in children” at Pediatric neurology department of Free University (VUMC), Amsterdam, The Netherlands. She works on genetic, progressive white matter disorders of brain for the children since 1987. She is leading authority in the area of white matter disorders of children.
Professor van der Knaap has obtained a cum laude degree in medicine from Erasmus University, Rotterdam. She continued her PhD studies and graduated cum laude in 1991 from University’s department of pediatric neurology, while also collaborating with the department of neuroradialogy of VU University. In 1999 she became full professor of pediatric neurology at VU University Amsterdam. Prof Knaap has an international reputation as pioneer in the development of MRI “pattern recognition” program for the diagnosis of white matter disorders. Her research areas include finding of new white matter disorders, investigating their causes (mostly genetic), understanding of disease mechanism and development the treatment methods. Her group is successful in discovering defected genes responsible for several new white matter disorders and which makes possible for the prenatal diagnosis of these rare diseases. Prof. Maria is leading the center established for “white matter disorders” since 2000 at VUMC and which is working on diagnosis and treatment methods of white matter disorders.
Prof van der Knaap was awarded Spinoza prize, a highest scientific award in Netherlands and which she partly used to establish a line for the development of stem cell therapies. She has been also awarded the gold medal of the International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine for pioneering work on Magnetic Resonance of neurodegenerative and neurometabolic disorders of children. Over the years, growing number of children with white matter disorders were referred to “Center for children with white matter disorders” at VUMC and also several MRIs sent for second opinions. Stichting Yasho Luekodystrophy foundation works together with Center for white matter disorders, VUMC to reach its goals.