Danielle Posthuma, VU University, Netherlands


Prof. dr. Danielle Posthuma is a statistical geneticist at the Vrije Universiteit (VU) Amsterdam and Amsterdam University Medical Center, Neuroscience Campus Amsterdam. She completed three MSc’s in clinical and biological psychology and medical anthropology, and graduated cum laude for her PhD in 2002 at the VU University Amsterdam. She became a member of the Young Academy of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences in 2005 and was elected for lifelong membership of the Royal Academy in 2019.

She received numerous prizes including the Scott Fuller Memorial Award from the International Behavior Genetics Association (2005), for early career outstanding scientific achievements, the Richard Todd award for outstanding contributions to child psychiatry, from the International Society for Psychiatric Genetics (2017), and the Lodewijk Sandkuijl award for contributions to statistical genetics from the Dutch Society of Human Genetics (2019). In 2008, 2009 and 2010 she was elected as one of the 400 most successful women, in the category ‘smart’, under the age of 38 in the Netherlands.

In 2014 she received a 1.5M€ personal ‘VICI’ grant from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research for her research into the genetic causes of psychiatric disorders. In 2019 she was awarded a 2.5M€ ERC Advanced grant from the European Research Council. She is a co-founder of the iPScenter Netherlands, which aims to detect biological mechanisms of brain diseases using pluripotent cells. She is also the director of the Genetic Cluster Computer hosted by SurfSARA since 2007, which serves as a central storage and data center of a large number of national and international genetic studies. She leads the Dutch BRAINSCAPES consortium which aims to bridge genetics and neuroscience and which was awarded 19.6M€ Euro in 2019 by the Dutch government.

As head of the Department of Complex Trait Genetics at the VU University Amsterdam and Amsterdam University Medical Centre she leads a group of 30 researchers from diverse fields, including statistics, stem cell biology, and bioinformatics. Her work focuses on developing novel methods that aid in detecting genes for brain diseases, interpreting these findings in biological context and generating mechanistic hypotheses that can be tested in functional experiments. She has recently led several large scale genome-wide association studies for Alzheimer’s Disease, intelligence, insomnia and neuroticism, and is the lead author on innovative tools such as MAGMA (for gene-set analyses) and FUMA (for postGWAS annotation). She has authored > 250 papers in scientific journals including Science, Nature, Nature Neuroscience and Nature Genetics.

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