Désirée van der Heijde

Désirée van der Heijde obtained her medical degree in 1986 from the Catholic University in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. She completed her PhD in 1991 and became a board-certified rheumatologist in 1993. Following a one-year appointment in Sweden in 1993, she joined the Department of Rheumatology at the University Hospital Maastricht until 2007, when she took up her current position as professor of rheumatology at the Leiden University Medical Center. Since 2007 she is also affiliated to the Diakonhjemmet Hospiral in Oslo, Norway.


Her major research interest is in the methodology of outcomes assessment and its application in clinical trials. Specific areas of interest are radiographic scoring methods in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriatic arthritis (PsA) and spondyloarthritis (SpA), as well as scoring of MRI in SpA. She is involved as principal investigator or steering committee member in many clinical trials with biologics in RA, PsA and SpA.


Professor van der Heijde was the chairperson of the Assessment in SpondyloArthritis international Society (ASAS) from 1995 to 2012. She is the chair of the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) Standing Committee for Clinical Affairs as well as a member of the EULAR Standing Committee for Clinical Epidemiology. In 2011 she received the prestigious Carol Nachman Award for her scientific contributions in rheumatology and in 2012, a doctorate honoris causa from the University of Ghent in Belgium.


Professor van der Heijde has published over 600 papers in the international literature, as well as chapters in leading rheumatology textbooks. She is a regular reviewer for all the major rheumatology journals and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology and Nature Clinical Practice. She is also an associate editor of Arthritis Research and Therapy and an advisory board member of the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases.

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