Christiaan Vinkers studied Pharmacy (2005), Law (2009), and Medicine (2009) at Utrecht University. In 2009, he finished his PhD thesis on fundamental neurobiological research and the GABA system (cum laude). Subsequently, he started my clinical training to become a psychiatrist and continued to carry out clinical research related to risk and resilience for psychiatric disorders and the role of the GABA system. In 2014, he became a psychiatrist and researcher at the Rudolf Magnus Brain Center.
His overall research objective is to investigate the neurobiological background of stress resilience and vulnerability including (epi)genetic, neuroendocrine, and brain circuitry factors, with a special interest in the GABA system. Traumatic stress, especially during early life, is a major risk factor for the development of almost all psychiatric disorders including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depressive disorder, and schizophrenia. Moreover, stress has persistent effects on brain structure and functionality. However, considerable inter-individual differences exist in outcomes after trauma exposure. Despite decades of research, we still cannot predict which individuals are at risk and which individuals are resilient following traumatic stress. Therefore, his goal is to shed more light on the neurobiological basis of stress susceptibility. His work is sponsored by grants of the Brain Center Rudolf Magnus, the Dutch Brain Foundation, Neuroscience Cognition Utrecht, and the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO, VENI).