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University Medical Center Groningen

Cisca Wijmenga, PhD

Lodewijk Sandkuijl Professor in de Humane Genetica, Spinoza prijs winnaar
Foto Ivar Pel
Foto Ivar Pel

Study: Biology at the University of Groningen
PhD thesis: Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy: from genetic mapping towards gene cloning, Leiden University, the Netherlands, 1993 (cum laude)

Inaugural lectures
Wat is de waarde van ons DNA? (in Dutch), 12 December 2008, University of Groningen
Ziekte en gezondheid: Verborgen verschillen Genomics slaat een brug tussen disciplines (in Dutch), 17 September 2004, Utrecht University

Member of
Netherlands Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW)
Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities (KHMW)

Public lectures (videos)
DNA en de rol van genetica Kenniscafe Groningen, (75 mins, in Dutch) 20 Jan 2015
Genetica: feiten en fabels (in Dutch, 50 mins) Rijksuniversiteit Groningen 400 jaar jubileum, “Top of the Profs” reeks publiekslezingen, 19 mei 2014

Full CV Link

7 April 2018: Cisca werd geïnterviewd voor het programma RADAR op Radio 1 (6 mins) over glutenarm/glutenvrije pizzas.
October 2017: Interview in Cell about the future of Human Genetics pdf
October 2017: Televisie interview met Cisca over haar onderzoek en hoe het is om Spinozapremiwinnar te zijn.
September 2017: Prof. Cisca Wijmenga benoemd to lid van de Fryske Akademy.
February 2017: Op zoek naar de heilige graal. Obesitas, diabetes, prikkelbaredarmsyndroom, autisme of depressie. Steeds meer ziektes blijken samen te gaan met een afwijkend darmmicrobioom. Maar wat is eigenlijk een gezond of normaal microbioom? Artikel over microbioom in Chemisch2Weekblad Life Sciences pdf
December 2016: Professor Wijmenga treedt af als hoofd afdeling
March 2016: Lid van KHMW, het oudste 'Geleerde Genootschap' in Nederland, opgericht in 1752
News items 2014-2015 (including ones on the Spinoza prize)

Research website: Systems Genetics
Publications: see GoogleScholar; PubMed


Complex genetics, systems genetics, bioinformatics, genetic association, pathway analyses, genomics, autoimmune disorders, diabetes, intestinal inflammatory diseases

My inspiration

I am fascinated by DNA and the wealth of information that is hidden in our genetic material. I want to learn why a genetic predisposition leads to disease in some individuals but not in others. If we gain insight into this process we may be able to find leads for developing instruments to treat patients and to prevent disease.

I also enjoy working with students and young scientists, and encouraging them to grow into skilful and competent researchers in an international environment. See comments from participants in my student mentor group.

My work

My research is aimed at unraveling the causal genetic factors of complex hereditary diseases. How does variation in hereditary material lead to disease and how can we use such knowledge to prevent or treat diseases? My PhD research focused on a relatively simple genetic disorder that is inherited according to Mendelian laws. In 1995, I was one of the first to take up the challenge to search for the genetic factors determining more complex disorders. My group adopted a hypothesis-generating, genome-wide approach and was able to make great progress on determining the genetic factors for intracranial aneurysms, type 2 diabetes and celiac disease. We have shown that several autoimmune diseases share common genetic factors. We are now working on systems genetics approaches towards understanding complex diseases. See Systems genetics, Genetics of complex immune-related diseases

I am a member of the the Celiac Disease Consortium (CDC)  and active in two EU projects: COPACTIC study (on COPD) and PreventCD (on celiac disease).

Top recent papers

ISI peer-reviewed publications (listing 625 articles, letters and reviews; total citations >34,000; h-index = 90; per 12 Mar 2018)
Google Scholar statistics (listing 740 publications; total citations 53182; h-index = 117)
See all my publications in GoogleScholar or in PubMed

ERC Advanced grant
ERC Advanced grant

List of all PhD graduates

Since 2002 I have had 43 PhD students graduate, 8 were awarded cum laude , while 16 devoted their theses to celiac disease. Many have continued their career in research (6 have gone on to become professors), while 16 are medical doctors who have transferred their research knowledge to the clinic.
My research group currently includes 18 PhD students and 7 postdocs, representing more than 13 different nationalities. Some come with their own funding, e.g. from China or Mexico.
All recent theses completed in the Department of Genetics can be found here

About Cisca Wijmenga

More on my work, international activities, and work visits

Grants obtained

I have been awarded a total of well over €30 million for her research work on celiac disease, auto­immune and other related complex disorders, and for setting up new technologies. The new facilities have included a SNP array facility in the Academic Biomedical Centre, Utrecht University (2004), the Genomics Coordination Centre in UMCG (2009) and the Dutch Biobank Research Facility, NWO National Roadmap for Large-Scale Research Facilities (€9.8m) (2014).
In 2015 I was personally awarded an NWO Spinoza prize of 2.5 million and the University of Groningen Investment Agenda awarded me a grant for “Personalized Health” ( €2.9 million). In 2017 I was co-applicant for an NWO Gravitation grant: Netherlands Organ-on-a-Chip Initiative, which was awarded 18 million.

EU funding
EU funding

Other activities

Since 2000 I have been a member of several committees in the Netherlands, including several NWO committees: currently member of the NWO Research Institute for Diseases in the Elderly (RIDE) committee (since 2004), of the NWO Large Equipment committee (since 2007) and of the ZonMw TOP Grant committee (since 2008). I sat on the Netherlands Bioformatics Center (NBIC) Young Scientist Award committee (2011, 2012). I am on the scientific advisory committee ‘Career Development Grant’ of the Dutch Digestive Disease Foundation (MLDS), and am a member of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) interdisciplinary VIDI committee. More

Teaching courses in 'Exploring Medical Sciences' at University College Groningen. More

Laatst gewijzigd:11 april 2018 14:23
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