Personal Page | Dorret I Boomsma

Dorret Boomsma focuses in her research on the causes of variation in human complex traits from child- to adulthood as a function of genotype and environment. To this end, she established the Netherlands Twin Register which over the past 35 years recruited >200,000 twins and family members ( With the participation of these families, > 1500 papers were realized, that show the contribution of our genotype to nearly all human phenotypes across the lifespan. Owing to the large NTR-biobank, an increasing number of projects now combines the twin-family design with multi-omics information. Uniquely, the NTR has carried out genotyping in multigeneration families, typically including 2 parents and multiple offspring.

Boomsma teaches quantitative genetics and is a member of the International Statistical Genetics workshop. She supervised over 60 PhD students and her work has led to national and international recognition, including the Spinoza Prize which is the highest scientific award in the Netherlands. She initiated and participates in multiple twin- and GWAS consortia and is a board member of BBMRI-NL (Biobanking and BioMolecular Resources Research Infrastructure), NCC (Netherlands Cohort Consortium)  and Odissei (Open Data Infrastructure for Social Science and Economic Innovations). In 2022 she was a awarded an honorary degree by the Faculty of Medicine, Helsinki University. She is a member of Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Science and the Koninklijke Hollandsche Maatschappij der Wetenschappen.

Dorret I Boomsma

Netherlands Twin Register, Dept Biol Psychology, VU

#Twins #Behavior Genetics #Omics

Key publications

  1. Hagenbeek FA, et al…, Boomsma DI. Integrative Multi-omics Analysis of Childhood Aggressive Behavior. Behav Genet. 2022. doi: 10.1007/s10519-022-10126-7.
  1. van Dongen J, et al. Boomsma DI. Identical twins carry a persistent epigenetic signature of early genome programming. Nat Commun. 12(1):5618. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-25583-7, 2021 
  1. Hagenbeek FA, et al., Boomsma DI. Heritability estimates for 361 blood metabolites across 40 genome-wide association studies. Nat Commun. 11(1):39. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-13770-6, 2020 
  1. Ligthart L, et al., Boomsma DI. The Netherlands Twin Register: Longitudinal Research Based on Twin and Twin-Family Designs. Twin Res Hum Genet. 22(6):623-636, 2019. doi: 10.1017/thg.2019.93


  1. barek H, et al., Boomsma DI. Identification of Common Genetic Variants Influencing Spontaneous Dizygotic Twinning and Female Fertility. Am J Hum Genet. 98(5):898-90, 2016. doi: 1016/j.ajhg.2016.03.008

Grants and award

2022    Ming Tsuang Lifetime Achievement Award (Int Society Psychiatric Genetics: Link

2022    Doctor honoris causa, University of Helsinki, Faculty of Medicine

2021    Top 25 Life & Biological Sciences Article: Nature Comm: (doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-25583-7)

2019    Top author biomedical sciences 2018: Link

2019    Fulker award for best paper in Behavior Genetics, 2018 (with CC Minică and others)

2016    EJHG Honors Award most influential paper ‘The Genome of the Netherlands’ (EJHG, 2014)

2014    KNAW Academy Professor Prize Link: awarded for lifetime exceptional achievement. 

2013    Dobzhansky Award for lifetime achievement in Behavior Genetics: Link

2012    Member Academia Europaea Link

2011    NARSAD established investigator: Link

2011    KNAW Merian Prize: Link

2009    Dr Hendrik Muller Prize for Behavioural and Social Sciences achievements: Link

2008    ERC established investigator: Genetics of Mental Illness

2002    Spinoza Prize. This is the highest personal scientific award in the Netherlands for top researchers, for “excellent accomplishments”: Link

2002    James Shield Award (awarded by the International Society for the Study of Twins)

2001    Member KNAW (Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences: Link

2001    Member Koninklijke Hollandsche Maatschappij der Wetenschappen: Link

1996    Junior-Heymans Award (awarded by the Netherlands Psychological Association)

1985    Thompson Award (awarded by Behavior Genetics Association)


  • The genetic basis of anxiety and depression: mapping QTLs in humans (NWO 904-61-090): 1997-2002
  • Database Twin Register (Investeringssubsidie NWO 575-25-006): 1995 – 2003
  • Genetics of cognition (Human Frontiers of Science; RG0154/1998-B) 1998 – 2001
  • Genetics of individual differences in smoking initiation and persistence (NWO 985-10-002) 1999 – 2003
  • High throughput analysis of SNPs for the study of major complex traits and diseases (NWO Investment 911-03-016) 2003-2005
  • Borderline Personality Disorder in a Dutch Twin Cohort (Borderline Personality Disorder Research Foundation) 2003 – 2006
  • Twin-family database for behavior genetics and genomics studies (NWO 480-04-004) 2005-2006
  • Genetic determinants of risk behavior in relation to alcohol use (ZonMW 60-60600-97-135) 2008-20012
  • Genetics of Mental Illness: A lifespan approach to the genetics of childhood and adult neuropsychiatric disorders and comorbid conditions (ERC-230374). ERC established investigator 2008-2013
  • Development of phenotype database for NTR Biobank participants (NIMH) 2010-2012
  • Longitudinal data collection from teachers of Dutch twins and their siblings ( NWO-481-08-011)
  • Linking databases to study childhood disorders (NARSAD Distinguished Investigator Grant) 2011-2012
  • Aggression in Children: unravelling gene-environment interplay to inform Treatment and InterventiON (Boomsma). European Union Seventh Framework Program (FP7) 2007-2013
  • “Behavior → Gene ← Behavior” (Boomsma) Royal NL Academy of Science prize. 2014-2024
  • Netherlands Twin Registry Repository (NWO infrastructure grant), 2016-2021
  • VU-Avera Collaborative Agreement. 2016-2022


2022 (Epi)genetics and the extended twin design. Norwegian Institute Public Health. Oslo, Norway

2022  Multiples, Multigeneration and Multivariate. World Congress Psychiatric Genetics (Florence)

2020 Twin research. Grand Rounds, Avera Health Systems (Sioux Falls, USA)

2019  Twin and SNP-based studies of metabolomics traits. Metabolomics Society (The Hague, NL)

2018  Longitudinal twin-family data and causality. Wellcome Sanger Inst. Hinxton (Cambridge, UK)

2017  Psychometrics and Genetics. Int Meeting Psychometrics Society (Zurich, Switzerland)

2017  Contributions from twin studies to gene discovery. Centre Genomic Regulation (Barcelona)

2016 Biology of dizygotic twinning. Eu Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (Helsinki)

All publications

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