Past, present and future

The CMSB was conceived in 2003 and established in January 2004 as one of the four Genomic Centres of Excellence of the Netherlands Genomics Initiative. In 2008, in the second round of funding of NGI, CMSB was continued as one of the now sixteen NGI key activities. In parallel to NGI funding, CMSB in this stage also obtained a stronger in-house funding from the institutions, thus safeguarding a solid future anchoring of the CMSB’s vision in the participating universities, medical centres and research institutes.

The CMSB is a joint initiative of six institutions in 3 nearby cities: Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden University and TNO in Leiden, VU University Medical Center and Free University in Amsterdam, and Erasmus MC in Rotterdam. The Centre is directed by Professor Gertjan B. van Ommen of the LUMC.


The CMSB1 approach was platform-oriented, aimed at establishing a genomics infrastructure between the six participants to study a variety of complex disorders. This has resulted in a broad spectrum of output, covering applications of the five technical platforms: epidemiology, systems biology, technology, animal models and clinical applications.

In CMSB2, we focus on five key disease areas: Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, depression, metabolic syndrome and migraine. The central key to establish genetic and molecular relationships between these apparently diverse disorders is combining advanced DNA analysis, epidemiology and systems biology.

Two CMSB1 platforms are continued in this second phase: the technology platform DIAL (data integration, analysis and logistics) and the 'societal aspects of genomics’ platform. We also established the new bridging thematic platform 'Immunity’, as it is becoming increasingly clear that a major cause for many complex diseases is rooted in disturbances of our immunity.