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.