Natasha Appelman-Dijkstra

I am an internist-endocrinologist specialized in osteoporosis, metabolic bone diseases and calcium/phosphate disorders and currently the head of the bone clinic here in Leiden. I received my MD in 2004 (Leiden University) and registered as a specialist in 2012 (Leiden University Medical Center, LUMC). In 2015 I defended my thesis, titled “Longterm effects of cranial irradiation and growth hormone therapy” (Leiden University 2015). Since 2012 I hold a permanent position at the LUMC, since 2017 as Associate Professor. For my work on the new technique of impact microindentation in vivo I received an American Society of Bone and Mineral Research Young Investigators Award (2014) and I am an experienced trainer in this technique. In 2018 I received an young investigators award from the Rare Bone Disease Alliance for my work in Fibrous Dysplasia/McCune Albright syndrome.

Current research projects:
My research area is bone and mineral disorders with a particular interest in
1. Natural history and Mechanisms of Rare Bone and Mineral Diseases
Clinical, biochemical, imaging, and genetic studies on rare bone diseases. Externally funded studies include: long-term skeletal and extra-skeletal effects of sclerostin deficiency(van Buchem disease, SOST gene); long-term effects of mutations of SQSTM1 gene in familial Paget’s disease; management of Fibrous Dysplasia/McCune Albright(FD/MAS). Principal investigator of the EU registry for rare bone and mineral conditions, with the acronym EuRR-Bone (www.eurr-bone.com), funded by the European Union’s 3rd Health Program, and I am lead of the working group for FD/MAS in EuRR-Bone.

2. Patient empowerment/patient related outcomes
– studies on Disease coping, Quality of life, Illness Perceptions and Pain in rare bone and mineral conditions
– Value Based Health Care project on osteoporosis
– Development of a Dutch disease specific questionnaire for primary hyperparathyroidism

3. Novel approaches in Osteoporosis
Impact Microindentation Technique(IMT) and Histomorphometry of bone biopsies, material properties of cortical bone with quantitative backscattered electron imaging, and Raman microspectroscopy and their relationship to IMT(Ludwig Institute, Vienna).

Treatment approaches in osteoporosis: AfterDmab study, an international Investigator initiated trial for which I was the Dutch Principal investigator and co-trial designer.

Regulation of Bone:
– Bone circadian rhythm (project lead dr. E.M.Winter)
– Bone Marrow Adiposity (project lead dr A.G.Veldhuis-Vlug)

Find more information on Researchgate
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Current PhD students:
Maartje Meijer, Fibrous Dysplasia
Erwin Gorter, Fracture Healing
Manuela Schob, Impact microindenation
Stijn Genders, Craniofacial Fibrous Dysplasia
Wouter van der Brugge, Imaging of metabolic bone diseases
Ana Priego, Registries in rare bone and endocrine diseases
Anne Leerling, SternoCosto Claviculaire Hyperostose
Mariya Cherenko

Additional team members:
Dr. Abbey Schepers
Dr. Michiel vd Sande
Prof. R. Van Merkesteijn

External advisors
Nathalie Bravenboer
Socrates Papapoulos