Complex Trait Genetics, Department of Functional Genomics, CNCR, VU University Amsterdam | Position: PhD student
Research internship Complex Trait Genetics| Project: writing a review: What twin studies tell us about the heritability of brain development, morphology, and function: a review
Research internship NIH| Project: molecular background of Alzheimer’s disease (wet-lab)
VU University Amsterdam| Master of Neuroscience
Hogeschool Utrecht| HBO Bachelor Biology
Presynaptic gene networks for ADHD, anxiety disorders and other common psychiatric disorders in children and adolescents
It is generally recognized that multiple genes with non-independent gene effects contribute to the development of ADHD and anxiety disorders. Novel genetic strategies are needed to deal with multiple gene-effects that each have a small contribution. From our and others’ previous work, it became clear that many genes expressed in the presynaptic nerve terminal are associated with general intelligence and/or attention (CHRM2, SNAP25, RIMS1, and several from mouse studies). Furthermore the latest most promising results strongly point to the involvement of presynaptic genes in the development of major depression in adults (Sullivan et al., 2008/submitted).
We postulate that impaired performance of presynaptic gene networks may contribute to the development of ADHD and anxiety disorders and, consequently, that gene variants with impaired function accumulate in these presynaptic networks.
We will collectively test for association between common childhood psychopathology and genes that are part of the presynaptic gene network, and, for comparison, several other gene networks in the brain (postsynaptic, glia, early development). Associations will be followed-up with functional genomic analysis. To test whether genes in the presynaptic network are specific to ADHD or anxiety or more generally related to childhood disorders, we will also test for association with other psychiatric disorders including pervasive developmental disorder (PDD), and will seek collaboration to include a healthy control group.
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam