Neuropsychiatric Genetics

Periode 2
Fac. der Aard- en Levenswetenschappen
prof. dr. D. Posthuma
prof. dr. D. Posthuma
prof. dr. D. Posthuma
Hoorcollege, Werkgroep

Doel vak

The main aim of this course is to provide a comprehensive overview of
the current state-of-the-art of the field of Neuropsychiatric Genetics,
and to teach how novel findings in this field can be translated for use
in clinical practice.
Specific learning objectives:
- To be able to interpret outcomes from gene-finding studies for
neuropsychiatric disorders
- To understand the difference between common variants and rare variants
- To have good insight into the current state of the art in
Neurosychiatric Genetics
- To have insight into the predictive power of outcomes of genome-wide
association studies (common variants/rare variants - structural variant,
sequencing) and the utility of these for clinical practice
- To generate hypotheses about biological disease mechanisms based on
genome wide approaches
- To translate outcomes of gene finding studies to actionable targets
for functional follow-up
and design a functional research design to test the role of these
targets in

Inhoud vak

Neuropsychiatric disorders are a major economic, societal and personal
burden. Major scientific efforts have therefore focused on identifying
causal genetic variants to increase insight into disease mechanisms and
improve risk prediction. After a century of limited etiological
progress, the past decade has seen unprecedented advances in our
understanding of the fundamental genetic architectures of mental
disorders. Unlike single gene disorders, mental disorders are influenced
by thousands of genetic risk variants of small effect, that combine to
increase risk for disease. This highly polygenic nature poses major
challenges and raises many questions. For example, how can we generate
hypotheses about disease mechanisms based on thousands of risk variants
each of small effect? And, how can we use such variants to diagnose and
predict disease? To benefit from the wealth of genetic findings, use
them to screen for and predict disease, and translate them into clear
therapeutic targets we need to provide the next generation of medical
practitioners with knowledge and understanding of the state-of-the-art
techniques available in complex trait genetics.
The course will bridge the gap between human genetics and functional
genomics, and will provide students with clear target-routes of how
these fields are interconnected, and how their combined contribution
aids in understanding psychiatric disorders. In the course students will
discuss and critically evaluate the value of classic and modern
techniques from functional genomics in uncovering disease mechanisms of
psychiatric disorders. The use of induced pluripotent stem cells for
functional follow-up studies in psychiatry will be extensively
The course will provide an overview of the current state of affairs in
neuropsychiatric genetics and future directions of the field.


The course will exist of general lectures by the Course Coordinator,
keynote lectures by specialized experts, and smaller
working/discussion/reading groups, led by PhD students/Postdocs.


Format of examination: Presentation (40%), Written exam (60%)


The course material will consist of selected published scientific

Vereiste voorkennis

The course Behavior Genetics (1st year Master Neurosciences) or


2nd year Master of Neuroscience students

Overige informatie

main: Prof D Posthuma
Keynotes from: Prof Philipp Koellinger, dr Vivi Heine, dr Sophie van der

© Copyright Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
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