Martien Kas


Dr. Martien Kas

  • genetic risks
  • environmental risks
  • translational research
+31 88 75 68179


Following his PhD research at Stanford University (California, USA) on circadian rhythms and sleep/wake regulation (1999) and a post-doc of molecular genetics of feeding behavior in Utrecht (2002), he started a new research line on behavioral genetics at the Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology of the Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neuroscience, University Medical Centre Utrecht.  Here, Martien Kas is currently appointed as an Associate Professor of Translational Behavioral Genetics.

His research focuses on determinants of behavior, especially of behavioral strategies that are relevant across species (e.g., feeding behavior, social interaction, avoidance and approach behavior, behavioral flexibility) and that are affected in various psychiatric disorders.  By means of interspecies genetic analysis of neurobehavioral traits (in mice and human) he aims to identify functional genotype-phenotype relationships in view of brain development and behavioral output. These findings are relevant for developing etiology-directed treatments for neurodevelopmental disorders, such as schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorders.

In addition to being the President of the Dutch Behavioural Genetics Contact group, he is board member of the Dutch Neurofederation, member of the Scientific Advisory Panel for Basic and Clinical Neuroscience for the European Congress of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP), and member of SYSGENET an European network for systems genetics.

Research line and group

Research line
Translational Behavioral Genetics
Number of PhD students
Number of postdocs

Personal fellowships and awards

  • Innovative Medicine Initiative (IMI) - Translational Endpoints in Autism (EU- AIMS) (co-applicant), 2012
  • VIDI grant ZonMW , 2007
  • Marie Curie Fellowship (researcher in charge), 2005

Most recent key publications

  • Schughart K, Libert C, and Kas MJ. Human disease: strength to strength for mouse models, Nature, 2012, 492, 41
  • Kas MJ, Kahn RS, Collier DA, Waddington JL, Ekelund J, Porteous DJ, Schughart K, Hovatta I. (2011) Translational neuroscience of schizophrenia: seeking a meeting of minds between mouse and man. Science Translational Medicine, 3(102):102mr3.
  • Laarakker MC, Reinders NR, Bruining H, Ophoff RA, Kas MJ. (2012) Sex-dependent novelty response in neurexin-1α mutant mice. PLoS One, 7(2):e31503
  • de Mooij - van Malsen JG, van Lith HA, Oppelaar H, Hendriks J, de Wit M, Kostrzewa E, Breen G, Collier DA, Olivier B and Kas MJ. (2009) Interspecies trait genetics reveals association of Adcy8 with mouse avoidance behavior and a human mood disorder, Biological Psychiatry, 66(12):1123-30.
  • Kas MJ, Fernandes C, Schalkwyk LC, Collier DA (2007) Genetics of behavioural domains across the neuropsychiatric spectrum; of mice and men. Molecular Psychiatry. 12, 324-330