Hessel Franssen


Dr. Hessel Franssen

  • neuromuscular disorders
+31 88 75 57961


From 1963-1969, Hessel Franssen was inspired by the best type of school ever existing in the Netherlands: HBS-B. In these years, he served as an amateur astronomer of the NVWS studying stars with variable magnitude. From 1969-1977, he attended medical school at the RU Leiden and investigated the pathology  of sucrose-kidneys in rats. During his Neurology residency in the Hague (1977-1984), he investigated mechanisms of neurological deficits in patients with Wernicke-Korsakow syndrome due to vitamin B1 deficiency and started work on his PhD thesis.

In 1986, he finished his PhD  thesis on: "Visually guided saccades in patients with cortical and subcortical lesions" at the Catholic University Nijmegen. Since 1985, he is neurologist/clinical neurophysiologist at the University Utrecht, later UMC Utrecht. His initial research there concerned mathematical description of somatosensory evoked potentials in the primary sensory cortex. Current line of research includes pathophysiologic mechanisms and diagnostic tools in motor neuron disease and polyneuropathy by advanced electrophysiological methods.  Expertise: electromyography in neuromuscular disorders. 

Research line and group

Research line
Neuromuscular Disorders
Number of PhD students

Personal fellowships and awards

  • Prinses Beatrix Fonds grants in 2000 and 2006

Most recent key publications

  • Franssen H and Notermans NC. Length dependence in polyneuropathy associated with IgM gammopathy. Ann Neurol, 2006, 59: 365-371
  • Franssen H, Gebbink TA, Wokke JHJ, Van den Berg LH, Van Schelven LJ. Is cold paresis related to axonal depolarization? JPNS 2010,15:227-237
  • Straver DCG, Van den Berg LH, Van den Berg-Vos RM, Franssen H. Activity-dependent conduction block in multifocal motor neuropathy. Muscle Nerve 2011,43:31-36
  • Vlam L, Van der Pol WL, Cats EA, Straver DCG, Piepers S, Franssen H, Van den Berg LH. Multifocal motor neuropathy: diagnosis, pathogenesis and treatment strategies. Nat Rev Neurol 2012,8:48-58
  • Straver DCG, Van Asseldonk JTH, Notermans NC, Wokke JHJ, Van den Berg LH, Franssen H. Cold paresis in multifocal motor neuropathy. J Neurol 2011,258:212-217