I was trained to become a psychiatrist (2008) and a Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist (2009) at the University Medical Center Utrecht. I defended my PhD thesis at the University of Utrecht / Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neuroscience in 2008 on the genetic and psychiatric aspects of the 22q11.2 deletion syndrome. Currently I combine my clinical work at the department of psychiatry with several ongoing research projects in the field of the genetics of autism and schizophrenia
From 2004 to 2006 I worked in the Genetics lab of Prof. Dr. B. Emanuel, Division of Human Genetics and Molecular Biology at the University of Pennsylvania. I learned the practical and analytical aspects of molecular genetic research using different methods (FISH, PCR, MLPA, Real-time PCR, RNA expression) on genetic material from 22q11DS patients. Concurrently, I worked at the Department of Child en Adolescent Psychiatry of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where I have set up a child psychiatry outpatient clinic for 22q11DS patients.
Gradually I have broadened the scope from 22q11DS to a wider perspective; the role of structural genomic abnormalities in autism and schizophrenia and trying to advance our understanding of the genetic architecture underlying these disorders. Currently I am a senior investigator in several research projects; I supervise three PhD students, and have supervised two recently completed PhD trajectories. I am the principle investigator of a genetic study on autism involving the collaboration of several European partner sites. Over the past years I have been fortunate to develop close and productive collaborations with many investigators in the genetics of psychiatric disorders across the world.