Sophie van der Sluis

Associate Professor
Team Leader


Dr. Sophie van der Sluis is Associate professor at the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, section Complex Trait Genetics, at the VU Medical Center, which is associated to Neuroscience Campus Amsterdam (NCA) and the Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research (CNCR). She studied psychology, focusing on psychological methods, at the University of Amsterdam and after graduating cum laude, she obtained her PhD in 2005 on research related to working memory capacity in children with learning deficiencies.

Between 2005 and 2009, van der Sluis worked as a post doc at the University of Amsterdam and the VU University Amsterdam. In 2009, she received a personal NWO-VENI grant, which allowed her to focus her research on psychometric issues in the context of behavioural genetics research. In 2013, she received an NWO-VIDI grant allowing her to continue this research.

Van der Sluis’ research focusses on the question how heritability estimates, and genetic association signals are affected by choices concerning the operationalization (i.e., conceptualization, measurement and modelling) of the phenotypes involved. Additionally, she is interested in the study of comorbidity, and how genetic information can be used to uncover the biology underlying comorbidity. Furthermore, she is interested in statistical challenges related to study design in the field of neuroscience.

Topics that feature prominently in her research are: uni-versus multivariate analyses, genetic heterogeneity, comorbidity, and multi-level modelling. Within these fields, Van der Sluis closely collaborates with Prof Danielle Posthuma (VU Medical Center and VU University Amsterdam), Prof Conor Dolan (VU University), and Prof Matthijs Verhage (VU University).

Highlighted publications

Aarts, E., Verhage, M., Heenvliet, J.V., Dolan, C.V., & van der Sluis, S. (2014). A solution to dependency: using multilevel analysis to accommodate nested data. Nat Neurosci, doi: 10.1038/nn.3648

Nagel, M. Watanabe, K., Stringer, S., Posthuma, D., & Van der Sluis, S. (2018). Item-level analyses reveal genetic heterogeneity in neuroticism. Nat Commun, doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-03242-8

Nagel, M., Jansen, P.R., Stringer, S., Watanabe, K., de Leeuw, C.A., Bryois, J., Savage, J.E., Hammerschlag, A.R., Skene, N., Muñoz-Manchado, A.B., the 23andMe Research Team, Linnarsson, S., Hjerling-Leffler, J., White, T.J.H., Tiemeier, H., Polderman, T.J.C., Sullivan, P.F., van der Sluis, S., & Posthuma, D. (2018). Meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies for neuroticism in 449,484 individuals identifies new genetic loci and pathways, Nat Genet, doi: 10.1038/s41588-018-0151-7

Werme, J., van der Sluis, S., Posthuma, D., & de Leeuw, C.A. (2022). An integrated framework for local genetic correlation analysis. Nat Genet.

Romero, C., Werme, J., Jansen, P.R., Gelernter, J., Stein, M.B., Levey, D., Polimanti, R., de Leeuw, C., Posthuma, D., & van der Sluis, S. (2022). Exploring the genetic overlap between twelve psychiatric disorders. Nat Genet.

Brunner, J.W., Lammertse, H.C.A., van Berkel, A.A., Koopmans, F., Li, K.W., Smit, A.B., Toonen, R.F., Verhage, M., van der Sluis, S. (2022). Power and optimal study design in iPSC-based brain disease modelling. Mol Psychiatry.

See for all publications of Sophie van der Sluis in PubMed

Contact info


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research (CNCR)
Department of Complex Trait Genetics
W&N building, Room B-639
De Boelelaan 1085
1081 HV Amsterdam
The Netherlands


+31 20 598 68 33