Professor Henry Brunner was born in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, in 1956. He graduated from the University of Groningen Medical School in 1984, specialized in Clinical Genetics for four years (1984-1988) at Radboud University Medical Center in Nijmegen and was board certified in Clinical Genetics in 1988. He joined the Section of Clinical Genetics at the Institute of Human Genetics in Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre since 1988. In 1993, he earned a Ph.D. degree for his genetic studies in myotonic dystrophy. He became full Professor of Human Genetics and Head of the Institute of Human Genetics at Radboud University Medical Center in 1998. In 2014, he was also appointed Chairman of the Institute of Clinical Genetics at Maastricht University, the Netherlands. From 2004 to 2008, he was also Chancellor for Human Genetics, Pediatrics and Medical Psychology at Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center.
Professor Brunner holds or has previously held many other responsibilities nationally and internationally. He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the KNAW Hubrecht Laboratory at Utrecht and former Chairman of the Dutch National Organization for Scientific Research Committee for VICI career development grants, and the Quality Assurance Committee of the Dutch Clinical Genetic Society, and member of the Scientific Council of the Dutch Organization for Research of Neuromuscular diseases, the Core Assessment Committee for the Leiden UMC Science Review, the Board of Directors of the Dutch Society of Human Genetics and the Medical Sciences Fellowship Committee of the Dutch National Organization for Scientific Research.
At the international level, Professor Brunner serves as President of the European Society of Human Genetics, Co-Chairman of Diagnostics, International Rare Diseases Research Consortium, Joint Organizer of the European School of Medical Genetics and Member of the Board of Directors of the American Society of human Genetics and the Scientific Advisory Board of the Sydney Brenner Institute of Molecular Biology in Johannesburg, South Africa. He has also served as a member of the Executive Board of the European Society of Human Genetics, the Scientific Committee, Telethon, Italy, the Scientific Program Committee for the World Congress of Human Genetics, Brisbane, Australia, and the Jury for the Soderberg professorship of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. He is also a member of the editorial boards of “Molecular Syndromology”, “Clinical Genetics” and “Journal of Medical Genetics” and former editorial board member of the “Netherlands Journal of Medicine” and “Clinical Syndromology.”
Professor Brunner is a distinguished molecular geneticist and a leader in the clinical delineation of a large number of rare genetic syndromes and the application of next generation sequencing technology in the clinic. Professors Brunner and Veltman and their groups carried out joint seminal studies using clinical genetic observations as the starting point for human molecular genetic investigations into such aspects as human behavior, skeletal development, brain development, neuromuscular disease, congenital malformations and gonadal development and function. Their pioneering studies, which are published in leading scientific journals have changed the lives of thousands of families worldwide and paved the way for more clinical applications of next generation genomic sequencing technology.
Professor Brunner’s accomplishments have been recognized by several awards including the Prize of the Dutch Organization for Research of Neuromuscular diseases, for research of myotonic dystrophy (1994); the Ben ter Haar Prize of the Clinical Genetics Society of the Netherlands for research in the field of clinical genetics (1995); the 2009 Frank Greenberg memorial lectureship at Baylor college of medicine, Houston USA; the Radboud Science Award (with Professor Joris Veltman), Radboud University Medical Center Nijmegen (2011) and the 2012 Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh Endowed Lecture, Edinburgh UK.
Professors Brunner and Veltman were selected as winners in recognition of their prominent role in moving into clinical practice a novel method of analyzing DNA, referred to as next generation sequencing. This has greatly improved the way of identifying genes that cause disease in patients and families suspected of having an inherited disorder. They have also initiated strong international collaboration in both research and diagnostics. They have published widely in outstanding scientific journals and have been recognized by their peers as innovative scientists.