The Nijmegen-site of the IMpACT consortium, chaired by Prof. Franke, focuses on gene-to-disease pathways in adult-ADHD. The interest of the lab is unveiling the genetic architecture of psychiatric disorders in general, with a special interest in ADHD. From over 300 patients and healthy controls, genotypic as well as phenotypic data (MRI, neuropsychological, psychiatric interview) data is collected. Data collection is done in a design, in which patients and healthy controls are continuously being included. Close collaboration between the Psychiatry department and the Genetics department is central in this process.
Barbara Franke is the chair of the IMpACT group. She is a Professor of Molecular Psychiatry at the Radboud University Medical Centre in Nijmegen. There, she heads the Researchlab for Multifactorial Diseases and is a Principal Investigator at the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour. Her main interests centre around the identification of genetic risk factors for psychiatric disorders – especially ADHD – and their characterization at the molecular, cell and brain level. For this, she is an active participant or member of the management team of many international collaborations, like the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, the IMAGE consortium on childhood ADHD and the ENIGMA consortium on imaging genetics. In addition, her lab carries out research using bioinformatics approaches, animal research using the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as a model for ADHD and neuroimaging research in order to characterize biological pathways from gene to disease. Barbara has (co-)authored over 300 papers, many in high impact journals like Nature Genetics, Nature, Molecular Psychiatry and American Journal of Psychiatry.
Professor Jan Buitelaar is leading the research group on neuropsychiatric and developmental disorders, principal investigator at the Radboud University Medical Centre, and head of Karakter Child and Adolescent Psychiatry University Centre. His research in focused on ADHD, autism, and aggression and impulsivity related disorders. He applies an interdisciplinary approach that integrates clinical and phenotypic studies, neuroimaging, cognitive research, genetics, pharmacology and preclinical approaches. He received the research award of the Dutch Society for Psychiatry in 2011, and is main applicant of a large number of international and national awarded grants. He published more than 500 peer-reviewed papers.
Alejandro Arias Vasquez
My entire research career has been focused on the understanding of the genetic mechanisms underlying the way the brain functions in general and dysfunctions in disease. Currently, my interest is focused on finding genes associated with the variation of brain structure and function and use these genes as risk-conferring candidates for complex diseases.
My experience includes research on the genetic causes of Alzheimer's disease (AD), Parkinson's disease, stroke, Major depressive Disorder and currently, ADHD. In order to identify genes related to these complex diseases, I have applied the most up-to-date statistical-genetics techniques available. In 2006 I finished my PhD where I was able to identify new loci linked to AD, suggested the presence of new candidate genes and replicated previously associated candidate genes and linked loci for this disease. In 2007 I moved to the RUNMC and joined the Research lab for Multifactorial Diseases (PI Prof. Barbara Franke) at the Departments of Human Genetics, Psychiatry & Cognitive Neuroscience and have successfully performed multiple genetic epidemiology analysis searching for genetic variants involved in the genetic susceptibility for ADHD, MDD and brain structure. At this moment, I'm involved in the core group of the biggest brain imaging genetics consortium in the world, the ENIGMA consortium, from which our group is a founding member (http://enigma.loni.ucla.edu/). Further, I'm also involved in the development of methodology to proper test gene-gene interaction effects applying novel Bayesian based analysis techniques
Since February 2000 I work at the department of Human Genetics. At the Researchlab for Multifactorial Diseases within the department I am responsible for the supervision of technicians, I co-supervise students and support the management. I work as a project manager for the international IMpACT group. Together with Janneke Dammers I am currently responsible for the development and coordination of the IMpACT website.
PhD student with Barbara Franke (UMCN) and David Norris (Donders Institute)
My research is focused on the functional network organisation in the brain, also called resting-state functional connectivity. In particular, I investigate if there are differences in the network organisation between adult patients with ADHD and healthy comparison individuals. I am interested in finding out if the problems that ADHD patients experience, for example problems with attention, or impulsive behaviour, are due to the way different brain areas 'talk to each other'. Previous research has mainly focused on specific brain regions and if these show different patterns of activity. I however expect that the way multiple brain regions interact with each other, we call that 'functional connections', is more relevant for studying ADHD. Additionally, I am investigating which genes play a role in the formation of these functional connections, especially the connections affected in adult ADHD. Understanding this will bring us closer to understanding which genes cause ADHD.
I studied medical biology at the Radboud University of Nijmegen and became especially interested in neurobiology and imaging genetics. In 2013 I started my PhD project in the group of Barbara Franke. Because we still know very little about the genes and genetic variants underlying the development of ADHD, I first aim to identify novel genes for ADHD by combining linkage analysis and whole exome sequencing in large ADHD families. Second, I want to investigate how the brain is affected by genes causing ADHD and how alterations of brain structure and function by such genes contribute to the cognitive deficits and symptoms observed in ADHD. To study the link between genes and brain structure and function, and the behavior of adult ADHD patients and healthy individuals, I combine advanced genetics with the analysis of neuroimaging data (both functional and structural MRI).
My name is Martine Hoogman and I’m currently working as a post doctoral researcher on the IMpACT project. I obtained my masters in clinical neuropsychology, University of Amsterdam, and in 2006 I moved to the eastern part of the Netherlands to work at the department of Psychiatry (Radboud Medical Centre, Nijmegen). Here I started setting up the Dutch part of the IMpACT project. This resulted in my PhD thesis entitled ‘Imaging genetics of adult ADHD. I’m fascinated by everything related to ‘imaging genetics’; investigating associations between genes and brain anatomy and brain functioning. In my current position as a postdoc affiliated with the Genetics Department (Radboud Medical Centre Nijmegen) I will continue to work on unraveling the pathway between genes, brains and ADHD. Next to working on IMpACT, I’m involved in the BIG\Cognomics project (www.cognomics.nl), a large healthy imaging genetics cohort, and a great source to study many imaging genetics topics.
Monique van der Voet
Dr. Monique van der Voet is postdoc and her aim is to tackle an important bottleneck in psychiatric genetics, which is to move beyond gene identification studies to functional studies that will provide evidence for the causal nature of genes and elucidate disease processes.
Her focus is attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which is amongst the most heritable neuropsychiatric disorders, but despite an increasing amount of genetic information available the etiology of ADHD remains largely unknown. To overcome this, an efficient model is required that permits generation of relevant functional information in short time. The fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster is a cost-efficient and powerful model organism with a large repertoire of behaviors and exceptional resources to manipulate any gene of interest. We expect Drosophila with its efficient genetic toolbox and genome-wide resources to significantly improve our understanding of the molecular, cellular and developmental basis of ADHD.
I work as a research assistant for the Dutch IMpACT site. I’m responsible for the inclusion of patients and healthy participants. Next to that I coordinate the phenotypic database. Together with Angelien Heister, I am also responsible for the development and coordination of the website.