I am a postdoctoral researcher at the Language and Genetics department, where I study the genetics of stuttering.
I completed my bachelor’s degree in Life Science and Technology and my master’s degree in Behavioural and Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Groningen. Next, I moved to Leiden for my PhD research on the genetics of migraine at the Leiden University Medical Center. I was awarded my PhD in March 2017.
I started my research at the MPI by studying the genetic cause of several rare developmental speech disorders. An example of such a disorder is childhood apraxia of speech. By analysing the DNA of these children and members of their family using whole genome sequencing, I searched for genes that cause these speech disorders. Here, you can find more information about our work on rare disorders.
Next, I got interested in our research on the genetics of complex language, speech and reading-related traits, for example how proficient people are in spelling and reading aloud. People vary in their proficiency for spelling and reading, and a part of this variation is caused by genetic factors. As lead analyst of the international GenLang network, I am identifying the genetic factors underlying reading and spelling abilities using a genome-wide association study meta-analysis. You can find more information about our work on complex traits on this project page.
We launched our research on the genetics of stuttering in December 2019. A year later, I received a Veni grant of the Dutch Research Council (NWO) for my research on the genetics of stuttering. Stuttering is caused partly by genetic factors. By identifying the genetic factors involved, we hope to learn more about stuttering, for example, what biological processes are involved in stuttering, and why does stuttering persists into adulthood in some people. For more information (in Dutch), and to participate, you can visit our study webpage.