Louise van der Weerd, PhD


  • Molecular imaging
  • Small animal MRI


Assistant professor

Louise van der Weerd studied Molecular Sciences at Wageningen University (1992-1996), with a Master’s program focussed on MRI and ESR, including an internship at the Commissariat à l'Énergie Atomique (CEA) in Paris. She subsequently obtained a PhD in Biophysics from the same university (2002). This was followed by a postdoc as Research Fellow in the Department of Radiology and Physics at the Institute of Child Health (UCL) in London, where she worked on MRI techniques to study in vivo animal models of neurological disorders. She joined LUMC in 2005 as assistant professor in a double appointment between the department of Radiology and the department of Anatomy to set up a pre-clinical (molecular) imaging program.

She was awarded an NWO VENI grant and the first NWO Athena Award to start an independent research program. Presently, she is PI of the molecular imaging section, working on the development of novel molecular imaging and MRI techniques to study animal models of disease, with a focus on neurological disorders. The research group of Dr. Van der Weerd is embedded in the Molecular Imaging Laboratories Leiden (MILL), a technology platform that combines the available expertise at Leiden University and LUMC necessary for development, validation, and application of molecular imaging techniques.


Publications in international refereed journals

  1. Winter EM, Hogers B, van der Graaf LM, Gittenberger-de Groot AC, Poelmann RE, Van der Weerd L. Cell tracing using iron-oxide fails to distinguish initially engrafted living stem cells from transplanted dead cells in the infarcted heart. Magn Reson Med, 2010, 63(3):817-21.
  2. Van der Weerd L, Lythgoe MF, Badin RA, Valentim LM, Akbar MT, de Belleroche JS, Latchman DS, Gadian DG. Overexpression of heat shock protein 27 reduces cortical damage after cerebral ischemia. Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism, 2010 Apr;30(4):849-56. 
  3. A.E.H. Scheenstra, M. Muskulus, M. Staring, A.M.J.V. van den Maagdenberg, S. Verduyn Lunel, J.H.C.Reiber, L. van der Weerd, J. Dijkstra. The 3D Moore-Rayleigh Test for the Quantitative Groupwise Comparison of MR Brain Images. In: Information processing in medical imaging, in press.
  4. S. van Rooden, M.L.C. Maat-Schieman, R.J.A. Nabuurs, L. van der Weerd, S.G. van Duinen, R. Natté, M.A. van Buchem, J. van der Grond. Visualization of changes related to Abeta deposition in ex vivo human brain specimens using MRI. Radiology, 2009 Dec;253(3):788-96.
  5. Fry BG, Wroe S, Teeuwisse W, van Osch MJ, Moreno K, Ingle J, McHenry C, Ferrara T, Clausen P, Scheib H, Winter KL, Greisman L, Roelants K, van der Weerd L, Clemente CJ, Giannakis E, Hodgson WC, Luz S, Martelli P, Krishnasamy K, Kochva E, Kwok HF, Scanlon D, Karas J, Citron DM, Goldstein EJ, McNaughtan JE, Norman JA. A central role for venom in predation by Varanus komodoensis (Komodo Dragon) and the extinct giant Varanus (Megalania) priscus. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2009;106(22):8969-8974.
  6. Hogers B, van der Weerd L, Olofsen H, van der Graaf LM, DeRuiter MC, Gittenberger-de Groot AC, Poelmann RE. Non-invasive tracking of avian development in vivo by MRI. NMR Biomed 2009;22(4):365-373.
  7. Fry BG, Vidal N, van der Weerd L, Kochva E, Renjifo C. Evolution and diversification of the Toxicofera reptile venom system. J Proteomics 2009;72(2):127-136
  8. Liefaard LC, Ploeger BA, Molthoff CF, de Jong HW, Dijkstra J, van der Weerd L, Lammertsma AA, Danhof M, Voskuyl RA. Changes in GABAA receptor properties in amygdala kindled animals: in vivo studies using [11C]flumazenil and positron emission tomography. Epilepsia 2009;50(1):88-98.
  9. Scheenstra AE, van de Ven R, van der Weerd L, van den Maagdenberg AM, Dijkstra J, Reiber JH. Automated segmentation of in vivo and ex vivo mouse brain magnetic resonance images. Mol Imaging 2009;8(1):35-44.
  10. Fry BG, Scheib H, van der Weerd L, Young B, McNaughtan J, Ramjan SF, Vidal N, Poelmann RE, Norman JA. Evolution of an arsenal: structural and functional diversification of the venom system in the advanced snakes (Caenophidia). Mol Cell Proteomics 2008;7(2):215-246.
  11. Goorden SM, van Woerden GM, van der Weerd L, Cheadle JP, Elgersma Y. Cognitive deficits in Tsc1+/- mice in the absence of cerebral lesions and seizures. Ann Neurol 2007;62(6):648-655.
  12. van de Ven R, Hogers B, van den Maagdenberg AM, de Groot HJ, Ferrari MD, Frants RR, Poelmann RE, van der Weerd L, Kiihne SR. T(1) relaxation in in vivo mouse brain at ultra-high field. Magn Reson Med 2007;58(2):390-395.
  13. Choy M, Ganesan V, Thomas DL, Thornton JS, Proctor E, King MD, van der Weerd L, Gadian DG, Lythgoe MF. The chronic vascular and haemodynamic response after permanent bilateral common carotid occlusion in newborn and adult rats. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab 2006;26(8):1066-1075.
  14. Badin RA, Lythgoe MF, van der Weerd L, Thomas DL, Gadian DG, Latchman DS. Neuroprotective effects of virally delivered HSPs in experimental stroke. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab 2006;26(3):371-381.
  15. Thomas DL, Lythgoe MF, van der Weerd L, Ordidge RJ, Gadian DG. Regional variation of cerebral blood flow and arterial transit time in the normal and hypoperfused rat brain measured using continuous arterial spin labeling MRI. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab 2006;26(2):274-282.
  16. van der Weerd L, Lythgoe MF, Badin RA, Valentim LM, Akbar MT, de Belleroche JS, Latchman DS, Gadian DG. Neuroprotective effects of HSP70 overexpression after cerebral ischaemia--an MRI study. Exp Neurol 2005;195(1):257-266.
  17. Lythgoe MF, Thomas DL, King MD, Pell GS, van der Weerd L, Ordidge RJ, Gadian DG. Gradual changes in the apparent diffusion coefficient of water in selectively vulnerable brain regions following brief ischemia in the gerbil. Magn Reson Med 2005;53(3):593-600.
  18. van der Weerd L, Thomas DL, Thornton JS, Lythgoe MF. MRI of animal models of brain disease. Methods Enzymol 2004;386:149-177.
  19. West DA, Valentim LM, Lythgoe MF, Stephanou A, Proctor E, van der Weerd L, Ordidge RJ, Latchman DS, Gadian DG. MR image-guided investigation of regional signal transducers and activators of transcription-1 activation in a rat model of focal cerebral ischemia. Neuroscience 2004;127(2):333-339.
  20. Nuclear magnetic resonance imaging of membrane permeability changes in plants during osmotic stress Author(s): Van der Weerd L, Claessens MMAE, Efde C, Van As. Plant Cell Environm 2002;25(11):1539-1549.
  21. van der Weerd L, Melnikov SM, Vergeldt FJ, Novikov EG, Van As H. Modelling of self-diffusion and relaxation time NMR in multicompartment systems with cylindrical geometry. J Magn Reson 2002;156(2):213-221.
  22. Wolters-Arts M, van der Weerd L, van Aelst AC, van der Weerd J, Van As H, Mariani C. Water-conducting properties of lipids during pollen hydration. Plant Cell Environ 2002;25(2):513-519.
  23. van der Weerd L, Claessens MM, Ruttink T, Vergeldt FJ, Schaafsma TJ, Van As H. Quantitative NMR microscopy of osmotic stress responses in maize and pearl millet. J Exp Bot 2001;52(365):2333-2343.
  24. van der Weerd L, Vergeldt FJ, de Jager PA, Van As H. Evaluation of algorithms for analysis of NMR relaxation decay curves. Magn Reson Imaging 2000;18(9):1151-1158.
  25. MacMillan F, Hanley J, van der Weerd L, Knupling M, Un S, Rutherford AW. Orientation of the phylloquinone electron acceptor anion radical in photosystem I. Biochemistry 1997;36(31):9297-9303.

Book chapters

  1. Suciu D, Oitzl M, Van der Weerd L. MRI of animal models of neuropsychiatric disorders. In: In vivo NMR Imaging: Methods and Protocols. Humana Press, in press.
  2. Scheenstra A, Dijkstra J, Van der Weerd L. MRI volumetrics. In: In vivo NMR Imaging: Methods and Protocols. Humana Press, in press.
  3. Rob Nabuurs, David L Thomas, John S Thornton, Mark F. Lythgoe, Louise van der Weerd. MRI of animal models of brain disease. In: Essential Whole Animal Imaging Methods. Book series: Reliable lab solutions. Elsevier, 2009.
  4. van der Weerd L, Thomas DL, Thornton JS, Choy M, Lythgoe MF. Experimental Models of Brain Disease: MRI Studies. In: Webb GA, editor. Modern Magnetic Resonance. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer; 2006. 801-822.
  5. Thomas DL, van der Weerd L, Lythgoe MF, Thornton JS. Experimental models of brain disease: MRI contrast mechanisms for the assessment of pathophysiological status. In: Webb GA, editor. Modern Magnetic Resonance. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer; 2006. 787-800.


Leids Universitair Medisch Centrum
Gebouw 1

Albinusdreef 2
2333 ZA Leiden
Tel: +31 71 526 4760

Postbus 9600
2300 RC Leiden

E-mail: l.van_der_weerd@lumc.nl