Jacob Vorstman


PhD Jacob Vorstman

  • developmental disorders
  • psychoses
  • genetic risks
+31 88 75 8180
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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.

Research line and group

Research line
Genetics of developmental disorders and psychosis
Number of PhD students
Number of postdocs

Personal fellowships and awards

  • 2012: University of Utrecht, Intensive Workshop Grant: 5,000 Euro
  • 2011: Rudolf Magnus Research Prize: 3,000 Euro (yearly award for the best scientific paper of the preceding year, evaluated by an external jury).
  • 2010: NARSAD Young Investigator Award: USD 60,000, “On the role of CNVs in schizophrenia: what about the other allele?”
  • 2010: Dutch Brain Foundation (Nederlandse Hersen Stichting): 150,000 Euro Fellowship grant for the research project entitled: “On the role of copy number variants in autism: what about the other allele?”
  • 2006: NARSAD Young Investigator Award: USD 60,000, “Clinical and Genetic Aspects of Psychosis in the 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome”

Most recent key publications

  • Vorstman JA, Ophoff RA; Genetic causes of developmental disorders. Curr Opin Neurol. 2013 Feb 19
  • Vorstman JA, Anney RJ, Derks EM, Gallagher L, Gill M, de Jonge MV, van Engeland H, Kahn RS, Ophoff RA; the Autism Genome Project, the International Schizophrenia Consortium. No evidence that common genetic risk variation is shared between schizophrenia and autism. Am J Med Genet B. 2013 Jan
  • Duijff SN, Klaassen PW, de Veye HF, Beemer FA, Sinnema G, Vorstman JA. Cognitive development in children with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome. Br J Psychiatry. 2012 Jun;200(6):462-8.
  • Vorstman JA, van Daalen E, Jalali GR, Schmidt ER, Pasterkamp RJ, de Jonge M, Hennekam EA, Janson E, Staal WG, van der Zwaag B, Burbach JP, Kahn RS, Emanuel BS, van Engeland H, Ophoff RA. A double hit implicates DIAPH3 as an autism risk gene. Mol Psychiatry. 2011 Apr;16(4):442-51
  • Vorstman JA, Staal WG, van Daalen E, van Engeland H, Hochstenbach PF, Franke L. Identification of novel autism candidate regions through analysis of reported cytogenetic abnormalities associated with autism. Mol Psychiatry. 2006 Jan;11(1):1, 18-28.