The Genetics Network (GENE) Amsterdam is large and spread out over several locations across the city. As a result, the researchers from different groups of the network can sometimes feel isolated from each other. As a way of bridge-building, we will interview researchers at each location, hoping to boost visibility, raise awareness of ongoing projects, and promote new collaborations.
The interviews will be released about once a month in a relatively short format (to appease our busy minds). They will be published on the website and linked to the personal pages. The interviews will be led by us, Anaïs Thijssen and Emil Uffelmann, so let us briefly introduce ourselves.
I’m a third-year PhD student working in the Complex Trait Genetics (CTG) department at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU). I found my way into statistical genetics quite serendipitously. I first started a Master’s in fundamental neuroscience at the VU, for which I received a full scholarship. While immensely grateful for this opportunity, I quickly realized I lacked the skills and enthusiasm to do practical work in wet labs. Fortunately, one course in my program was just what I was looking for, Genetics in Neuroscience. So, I put down the pipettes, closed the laboratory freezer and freed the mice, and instead opened my computer to run genetic analyses. Since then, I have developed a broad interest in genetics, with my projects ranging from running a GWAS of Alzheimer’s Disease, uncovering sex differences across many traits, to developing new approaches to make Polygenic Scores more interpretable. As such, I look forward to interviewing a diverse group of researchers at the very forefront of genetics.
I just started as a PhD student at the Genetic Epidemiology group of the Amsterdam UMC with an Amsterdam UMC PhD. Scholarship. During my Bachelor’s in Psychology, I loved learning about our brains, minds, and behaviour. However, to me, something crucial was missing from the explanations given by psychological research. Because of that, I soon enrolled in a Biomedical Sciences minor, where I realized that I wanted to study how human experiences are shaped by the interplay between genetics, the brain, evolution, and behaviour. I thus completed a Psychology and Neuroscience Master’s and focused my internships on the association between genetics and mental disorders, and in my final thesis I investigated the evolutionary genetics of psychiatric disorders. In my PhD, I will focus on the comorbidity between anxiety and depression using genetics, neuroimaging, and clinical treatment outcomes. I am excited to learn more about all the different genetic research here in Amsterdam by interviewing different experts in the field.