Conny van der Laken (F), PhD, MD, associate professor, is rheumatologist and principal investigator of translational and clinical advanced imaging studies in rheumatology in Amsterdam, with a particular expertise in Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging. The work aims at development of molecular imaging of immunological targets in rheumatic diseases for application of (early) diagnostics and development of personalized treatment. She leads a group of PhD students and technicians, both in translational and clinical research. She has a H-index of 23, and wrote over 60 scientific articles. The work has a leading (inter)national position and is embedded in several multicenter studies and (inter-)national collaborations. She is actively involved in the EULAR standing committee of imaging, board member of the imaging working group within the Dutch Rheumatology Association and program leader of inflammatory diseases in the Amsterdam Infection & Immunity Institute (AI&II).


Rheumatic diseases, PET, moleculair imaging


  • Medical training:

1991: MSc degree,  Medical School, University of Leiden, The Netherlands

1993: MD degree, Medical School, University of Leiden, The Netherlands

2004: Specialization as rheumatologist, VU University Medical Center, The Netherlands

  • Research:

1998: PhD degree with honours, Catholic University Nijmegen

Title of thesis: ‘Scintigraphic detection of inflammation by radiolabeled cytokines and chemotactic peptides’

2016: Associate professor of advanced imaging in rheumatology

Work experience

Management positions:

2010 to date: Treasurer in the board of the national working group ‘Imaging Rheumatology Organisation of the Netherlands’.

2013 to date: Representative of the Dutch Rheumatology association in the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) standing committee of the imaging.

2016 to date: Program leader of inflammatory diseases at Amsterdam research institute of Infection & Immunity.

2016 to date:  Member of the ‘Wetenschappelijke Adviesraad Reumafonds’ of ‘Reumafonds’.

2016 to date: Coordinator of Amsterdam UMC as part of the EULAR network of imaging centres for visiting international research fellows. 

2017 to date: Steering committee member of the European GSK inflammation-imaging hub.

2017 to date: Member of international PET Interest Group, among which development of international PET guidelines.

2018 to date: Program leader inflammatory diseases in Amsterdam Institute of Infection & Immunity.

Clinical tasks:

2004 to date: Rheumatologist, Patient care in both outpatient and clinical setting, Educational tasks (see below).

Educational tasks:            

2004 to date:

  • Teacher of imaging in immunology course (Keuze Onderwijs Wetenschap (KOW) Immunology & Infection) of medical students (at the VU University Medical Center.
  • Guiding of the thesis of medical students for Wetenschappelijk Focus Onderwijs (WFO).
  • Teacher of imaging techniques for internists and rheumatologists in training
  • Teacher of medical topics for medical students (course Infection & Inflammation), internists in training (regional onderwijs interne geneeskunde (ROIG)) and family doctors.
  • Clinical supervision of rheumatologists in training
  • Coordination of monthly group discussions of PhD students to create critical thinking.
  • Initiation and coordination of national education of advanced imaging techniques for rheumatologists (in training), in particular MRI and PET.
  • Organization of national courses of basic, advanced and master classes MRI of rheumatoid arthritis and spondylarthropathy.
  • Development of hands-on training and subsequently e-learning of MRI for rheumatologists, national and international within EULAR network.
  • Organisation of training course in the Disease Activity Score of rheumatoid arthritis for rheumatologists in training and research/rheumatology nurses.

Research tasks and positions:    

2004 to date: Senior researcher

  • Project leader of research line ‘Advanced imaging of inflammatory rheumatic diseases’.  Particular emphasis on Positron Emission Tomography (PET). Translational and clinical research.
  • Supervision of PhD students and technicians.
  • Coordination of imaging research within the Amsterdam Rheumatology & Immunology Center.
  • Workpackage leader of PET imaging in the national project of the Center of Translational and Molecular Medicine (CTMM), entitled ´Development of Tools (and prediction rules) to time and select therapy in treatment of pre-clinical, early, and established Rheumatoid Arthritis: Creating Enhanced Remedy´ (TRACER)(2010-2015).
  • VUMC center leader of FP7-Health-2012 project : ‘Profiling Responders In Antibody Therapies’ (PRIAT)(2012-2014). See further below at grants and funding.
  • Project leader of multiple research projects supported by Dutch Arthritis Association (2004 to date). See further below at grants and funding.
  • Principal investigator (PI) of ZonMw multicenter project  “‘Positron Emission Tomography and macrophage targeting to select individuals at risk for rheumatoid arthritis’” in translational program (2014 to date).
  • Co-PI of ZonMw project Molecular Diagnostics in Rheumatoid Arthritis (MODIRA) in 2Treat-Public-Private Partnerships (2015 to date).
  • Project leader of Folate PET monitoring of macrophages in rheumatoid arthritis in European GSK inflammation-imaging hub (2018 to date).

Relevant publications for ARCAID:

  1. Elzinga EH, van der Laken CJ, Comans EF, Lammertsma AA, Dijkmans BAC, Voskuyl AE. 2-Deoxy-2-[F-18]fluoro-D-glucose joint uptake on positron emission tomography images: rheumatoid arthritis versus osteoarthritis. Mol Imaging Biol. 2007 Nov-Dec;9(6):357-60.
  2. Van der Laken CJ, Voskuyl AE, Roos JC, Stigter van Walsum M, de Groot ER, Wolbink G, Dijkmans BAC, Aarden LA. Imaging and serum analysis of immune complex formation of radiolabelled infliximab and anti-infliximab in responders and non-responders to therapy for rheumatoid arthritis. Ann Rheum Dis. 2007 Feb;66(2):253-6. Epub 2006 Jun 22.
  3. Van der Laken CJ, Elzinga EH, Kropholler MA, Molthoff CFM, Van der Heijden JW, Maruyama K, Boellaard R, Dijkmans BAC, Lammertsma AA, Voskuyl AE. Non-invasive imaging of macrophages in rheumatoid synovitis using (R)-[11C]PK11195 and positron emission tomography. Arthritis Rheum 2008;58:3350-5.
  4. Kropholler MA, Boellaard R, Elzinga EH, Van der Laken CJ, Maruyama K, Kloet R, Voskuyl AE, Dijkmans BAC, Lammertsma Quantification of (R)-[11C]PK11195 Binding in Rheumatoid Arthritis. Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging 2009;36:624-31.
  5. Van der Heijden JW, Oerlemans R, Dijkmans BAC, Huiling Qi, van der Laken CJ, et al. Folate receptor-β as potential delivery route for novel folate antagonists to macrophages in synovial tissue of rheumatoid arthritis patients. Arthritis Rheum 2009;60:12-21.
  6. Van der Heijden JW, Oerlemans R, Tak PP, Assaraf YG, Kraan MC, Scheefer GL, Van der Laken CJ, et al. Involvement of breast cancer resistance protein expression on RA synovial tissue macrophages in resistance to methotrexate and leflunomide. Arthritis Rheum 2009;60:669-77.
  7. Bos WH, Wolbink GJ, Boers M, Tijhuis GJ, de Vries N, van der Horst-Bruinsma IE, Tak PP, van de Stadt RJ, van der Laken CJ, Dijkmans BA, van Schaardenburg D. Arthritis development in patients with arthralgia is strongly associated with anti-citrullinated protein antibody status: a prospective cohort study. Ann Rheum Dis. 2010 Mar;69(3):490-4. Epub 2009 Apr 9.
  8. van de Stadt LA, Bos WH, Meursinge Reynders M, Wieringa H, Turkstra F, van der Laken CJ, van Schaardenburg D. The value of ultrasonography in predicting arthritis in auto-antibody positive arthralgia patients: a prospective cohort study. Arthritis Res Ther. 2010;12(3):R98. Epub 2010 May 20.
  9. Elzinga EH, van der Laken CJ, Comans EF, Boellaard R, Hoekstra OS, Dijkmans BA, Lammertsma AA, Voskuyl AE. 18F-FDG PET as a tool to predict the clinical outcome of infliximab treatment of rheumatoid arthritis: an explorative study. J Nucl Med. 2011 Jan;52(1):77-80.
  10. Gent YY, Voskuyl AE, Kloet RW, van Schaardenburg D, Hoekstra OS, Dijkmans BA, Lammertsma AA, van der Laken CJ.Macrophage positron emission tomography imaging as a biomarker for preclinical rheumatoid arthritis: findings of a prospective pilot study. Arthritis Rheum. 2012 Jan;64(1):62-6.
  11. Bruijnen ST, van der Weijden MA, Klein JP, Hoekstra OS, Boellaard R, van Denderen JC, Dijkmans BA, Voskuyl AE, van der Horst-Bruinsma IE, van der Laken CJ. Bone formation rather than inflammation reflects Ankylosing Spondylitis activity on PET-CT: a pilot study. Arthritis Res Ther. 2012 Apr 2;14(2):R71.
  12. van der Laken CJ, Huisman MH, Voskuyl AE. Nuclear imaging of rheumatic diseases. Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol. 2012;26:787-804.
  13. Gent YY, Weijers K, Molthoff CF, Windhorst AD, Huisman MC, Smith DE, Kularatne SA, Jansen G, Low PS, Lammertsma AA, van der Laken CJ. Evaluation of the novel folate receptor ligand [18F]fluoro-PEG-folate for macrophage targeting in a rat model of arthritis. Arthritis Res Ther. 2013;15(2):R37.
  14. Lensen KJ, Voskuyl AE, van der Laken CJ, Comans EF, van Schaardenburg D, Arntzenius AB, Zwijnenburg T, Stam F, Gompelman M, Zant FM, van Paassen AQ, Voerman BJ, Smit F, Anten S, Siegert CE, Binnerts A, Smulders YM. 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography in elderly patients with an elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate of unknown origin. PLoS One. 2013;8(3):e58917.
  15. Bruijnen ST, Gent YY, Voskuyl AE, Hoekstra OS, van der Laken CJ.

Present role of positron emission tomography in the diagnosis and monitoring of peripheral inflammatory arthritis: a systematic review. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2014;66:120-30. Review.

  1. Gent YY, Weijers K, Molthoff CF, Windhorst AD, Huisman MC, Kassiou M, Jansen G, Lammertsma AA, van der Laken CJ. Promising potential of new generation translocator protein tracers providing enhanced contrast of arthritis imaging by positron emission tomography in a rat model of arthritis. Arthritis Res Ther. 2014;16:R70.
  2. Gent YY, Wee MM, Dowling C, Ahmadi N, van Kuijk C, van de Stadt LA, van Schaardenburg D, Voskuyl AE, van der Laken CJ. Three year clinical outcome following baseline magnetic resonance Imaging of anti-citrullinated protein antibody-positive arthralgia patients: An explorative study. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2014 Jun 25.
  3. Gent YY, Ahmadi N, Voskuyl AE, Hoetjes N, van Kuijk C, Britsemmer K, Turkstra F, Boers M, Hoekstra OS, van der LakenDetection of Subclinical Synovitis with Macrophage Targeting and Positron Emission Tomography in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis without Clinical Arthritis. J Rheumatol. 2014 Nov;41(11):2145-52.
  4. Chandrupatla DM, Weijers K, Gent YY, de Greeuw I, Lammertsma AA, Jansen G, van der Laken CJ, Molthoff CF. Sustained macrophage infiltration upon multiple intra-articular injections: an improved rat model of rheumatoid arthritis for PET guided therapy evaluation. Biomed Res Int. 2015;2015:509295.
  5. Lensen KD, Comans EF, Voskuyl AE, van der Laken CJ, Brouwer E, Zwijnenburg AT, Pereira Arias-Bouda LM, Glaudemans AW, Slart RH, Smulders YM. Large-vessel vasculitis: interobserver agreement and diagnostic accuracy of 18F-FDG-PET/CT. Biomed Res Int. 2015;2015:914692.
  6. de Jong TD, Vosslamber S, Blits M, Wolbink G, Nurmohamed MT, van der Laken CJ, Jansen G, Voskuyl AE, Verweij CL. Effect of prednisone on type I interferon signature in rheumatoid arthritis: consequences for response prediction to rituximab.Arthritis Res Ther. 2015 Mar 23;17:78.
  7. Gent YY, Ter Wee MM, Voskuyl AE, den Uyl D, Ahmadi N, Dowling C, van Kuijk C, Hoekstra OS, Boers M, Lems WF, van der Laken Subclinical synovitis detected by macrophage PET, but not MRI, is related to short-term flare of clinical disease activity in early RA patients: an exploratory study. Arthritis Res Ther. 2015 Sep 25;17:266.
  8. de Jong TD, Vosslamber S, Mantel E, de Ridder S, Wesseling JG, van der Pouw Kraan TC, Leurs C, Hegen H, Deisenhammer F, Killestein J, Lundberg IE, Vencovsky J, Nurmohamed MT, van Schaardenburg D, Bultink IE, Voskuyl AE, Pegtel DM, van der Laken CJ, Bijlsma JW, Verweij CL. Physiological evidence for diversification of IFNα- and IFNβ-mediated response programs in different autoimmune diseases. Arthritis Res Ther. 2016 Feb 17;18:49.
  9. Lensen KD, Voskuyl AE, Comans EF, van der Laken CJ, Smulders YM. Extracranial giant cell arteritis: A narrative review. Neth J Med. 2016 Jun;74(5):182-92.
  10. de Jong TD, Lübbers J, Turk S, Vosslamber S, Mantel E, Bontkes HJ, van der Laken CJ, Bijlsma JW, van Schaardenburg D, Verweij CL. The type I interferon signature in leukocyte subsets from peripheral blood of patients with early arthritis: a major contribution by granulocytes. Arthritis Res Ther. 2016 Jul 13;18:165.
  11. Bruijnen S, Tsang-A-Sjoe M, Raterman H, Ramwadhdoebe T, Vugts D, van Dongen G, Huisman M, Hoekstra O, Tak PP, Voskuyl A, van der Laken B-cell imaging with zirconium-89 labelled rituximab PET-CT at baseline is associated with therapeutic response 24 weeks after initiation of rituximab treatment in rheumatoid arthritis patients. Arthritis Res Ther. 2016 Nov 18;18(1):266.
  12. Aleyd E, Al M, Tuk CW, van der Laken CJ, van Egmond M. IgA Complexes in Plasma and Synovial Fluid of Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis Induce Neutrophil Extracellular Traps via Fcα J Immunol. 2016 Dec 15;197(12):4552-4559.
  13. D’Agostino MA, Haavardsholm EA, van der Laken Diagnosis and management of rheumatoid arthritis; What is the current role of established and new imaging techniques in clinical practice? Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol. 2016 Aug;30(4):586-607.
  14. Chandrupatla DMSH, Jansen G, Vos R, Verlaan M, Chen Q, Low PS, Windhorst AD, Lammertsma AA, van der Laken CJ, Molthoff CFM. In-vivo monitoring of anti-folate therapy in arthritic rats using [18F]fluoro-PEG-folate and positron emission tomography. Arthritis Res Ther. 2017;19:114.
  15. Lensen KDF, van Sijl AM, Voskuyl AE, van der Laken CJ, Heymans MW, Comans EFI, Nurmohamed MT, Smulders YM, Boellaard R. Variability in quantitative analysis of atherosclerotic plaque inflammation using 18F-FDG PET/CT. PLoS One. 2017;12(8):e0181847.
  16. Bruijnen STG, Verweij NJ, LM van Duivenvoorden LM, N. Bravenboer N, DLP Baeten DLP, van Denderen CJ, van der Horst-Bruinsma IE, Voskuyl AE; M. Custers M, van de Ven PM; Bot JCJ, Boden BJH, Lammertsma AA, OSH Hoekstra OSH, Raijmakers PGHM, van der Laken Axial bone formation before and after 12 weeks of anti-TNF treatment in ankylosing spondylitis: an [18F]fluoride PET study. Rheumatol 2018; Apr 1;57(4):770.
  17. Durga M.S.H. Chandrupatla, Gerrit Jansen, Elise Mantel, Philip S. Low, Takami Matsuyama, René Musters, Albert D. Windhorst, Adriaan A. Lammertsma, Carla F.M. Molthoff , Conny J. van der Laken. Imaging and methotrexate response monitoring of systemic inflammation in arthritic rats employing the macrophage PET tracer [18F]fluoro-PEG-folate. Contrast Media & Molecular Imaging. 2018;21: 8092781.
  18. Slart RHJA; Writing group; Reviewer group; Members of EANM Cardiovascular; Members of EANM Infection & Inflammation; Members of Committees, SNMMI Cardiovascular; Members of Council, PET Interest Group; Members of ASNC; EANM Committee Coordinator. FDG-PET/CT(A) imaging in large vessel vasculitis and polymyalgia rheumatica: joint procedural recommendation of the EANM, SNMMI, and the PET Interest Group (PIG), and endorsed by the ASNC. Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2018;45:1250-1269.
  19. Jiemy WF, Heeringa P, Kamps JAAM, van der Laken CJ, Slart RHJA, Brouwer E. Positron emission tomography (PET) and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) imaging of macrophages in large vessel vasculitis: Current status and future prospects. Autoimmun Rev. 2018;17:715-726.
  1. Prophylactic and therapeutic activity of alkaline phosphatase in arthritic rats: single-agent effects of alkaline phosphatase and synergistic effects in combination with methotrexate.Chandrupatla DMSH, Molthoff CFM, Ritsema WIGR, Vos R, Elshof E, Matsuyama T, Low PS, Musters RJP, Hammond A, Windhorst AD, Lammertsma AA, van der Laken CJ, Brands R, Jansen G. Transl Res. 2018; 17. pii: S1931-5244(18)30055-0.
  2. Chandrupatla DMSH, Molthoff CFM, Lammertsma AA, van der Laken CJ, Jansen G. The folate receptor β as a macrophage-mediated imaging and therapeutic target in rheumatoid arthritis. Drug Deliv Transl Res. 2019 Feb;9(1):366-378.
  1. Bruijnen STG, Chandrupatla DMSH, Giovanonni L, Neri D, Vugts DJ, Huisman MC, Hoekstra OS, Musters RJP, Lammertsma AA, van Dongen GAMS, Jansen G, Molthoff CFM, van der Laken F8-IL10: A New Potential Antirheumatic Drug Evaluated by a PET-Guided Translational Approach. Mol Pharm. 2019 Jan 7;16(1):273-281.