Anaïs Thijssen is a research assistant at the Psychiatry department of Amsterdam UMC. She has a Master’s degree in Neuroscience and Psychology. She is especially interested in how genetics, the brain and evolution interact to shape the human mind. Her work focusses mainly on the genetics of psychiatry, where she uses genetics to better understand individual differences between people, but also tries to link the genetic signals to biological insights and evolutionary origin.

Research question

“What is the genetic basis of symptom-level depression heterogeneity?”


This study explores the genetic basis of different depression symptoms. We aim to further investigate the potential genetic relationships between depressive symptoms and broader psychiatric constructs, i.e., whether genetic influences for other psychiatric disorders “colour” the expression of depression. Another question is whether different depressive symptoms are a manifestation of quantitative or qualitative genetic differences, i.e., are some symptoms associated with more genetic risk or with different genetic risk. To be able to answer these questions we will develop new visualization tools based on genetic distances between subgroups. Analyses can also be applied to test the genetic basis for broader mental or even cardiometabolic disorders.

Anaïs Thijssen

PhD student,
Amsterdam UMC

Portrait photo of Anaïs Thijssen

Areas of Expertise