drs. N.M.A. (Niels) van den Berg



  • Multigenerational family studies
  • Demography
  • Genealogy
  • Social history
  • Healthy Ageing
  • Statistics
  • Genetics


I am trained as a Quantitative Sociologist and methodologist with a focus on statistics, methodology and family sociology. I followed my passion for studying families and statistics into my PhD (defense early 2020) which was on the intersection of the life sciences and social sciences. I studied the familial clustering and transmission of human longevity in thousands of families and made use of multiple extensive historical genealogical databases, such as the Utah Population Database, the LINKS, the Historical Sample of the Netherlands, and the Leiden Longevity Study which cover millions of individuals. I was embedded at the Radboud University in the group of prof. Angelique Janssens where I developed my expertise on the historical and social aspects of longevity and at the LUMC in the group of prof. Eline Slagboom where I learned about the genetic and molecular mechanisms of aging and longevity.

Currently I work in the section of Molecular Epidemiology (MOLEPI) on elucidating the complex longevity trait by combining information from family data with social, physiological and molecular data. MOLEPI is embedded in the department of biomedical data sciences, enabling me to closely work together with historians, statisticians, data scientist, biologists, and biomedical scientists and combine insights from all these different fields into strong multidisciplinary research on familial longevity and healthy aging.

Key publications

Key scientific publications (Google Scholar):

- van den Berg, N., Beekman, M., Smith, K. R., Janssens, A., & Slagboom, P. E. (2017). Historical demography and longevity genetics: Back to the future. Ageing Research Reviews, 38, 28–39. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.arr.2017.06.005

- van den Berg, N., Rodríguez-Girondo, M., van Dijk, I. K., Mourits, R. J., Mandemakers, K., Janssens, A. A. P. O., … Slagboom, P. E. (2019). Longevity defined as top 10% survivors and beyond is transmitted as a quantitative genetic trait. Nature Communications, 10(1), 35. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-07925-0

- van den Berg, N., Rodriguez-Girondo, M., Mandemakers, K., Janssens, A. A. P. O., Beekman, M., & Slagboom, P. E. (2019). Longevity Relatives Count score defines heritable longevity carriers and suggest case improvement in genetic studies. BioRxiv. https://doi.org/10.1101/609891

Key press publications (Google Scholar):

Lang leven vooral door lang levende moeder, NOS website: 27-03-2018
Meer dan 100? Dat is te danken aan de moeder, NRC: 02-04-2018
Soundcloud: Zeeuwse Kamer over het geheim van oud worden, Omroep Zeeland: 14-01-2019
Altmetric 53574137: longevity defined as top 10% survivors is transmitted as a quantitative genetic trait


Leids Universitair Medisch Centrum
Gebouw 2
Kamer S-05-040

Einthovenweg 20
2333 ZC Leiden
Tel: +31 71 526 9738

Postzone S5-P
Postbus 9600
2300 RC Leiden

E-mail: n.m.a.van_den_berg@lumc.nl