prof. dr. M.J.H. (Martien) Kas

Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience


Research units:

Research interests

The research of the group focuses on determinants of behavior, especially of behavioral strategies and of biological processes that are essential across species and that are affected in various neuropsychiatric disorders (e.g., social interaction and sensory information processing). By means of cross-species genetic analysis of neurobehavioral traits (of mice and men) we aim to identify genotype-phenotype relationships relevant to the development and treatment of autism spectrum disorders, Alzheimer's Disease, eating disorders, and schizophrenia. These studies will lead to our understanding of conserved gene function in regulating essential behavioral strategies and will ultimately improve therapeutic and preventive strategies to contribute to healthy aging.


Experimental strategy:

The identification of molecular genetic mechanisms of neurobehavioral traits is established by performing fine-grained analysis of behavior using both well-established testing paradigms, as well as novel automated behavioral phenotyping methods (e.g., automated home cage recordings in rodents and smartphone application monitoring of human behavior). Behavioral and EEG dynamics in developing genetic mouse models for human candidate genes of neuropsychiatric disorders are studied across different developmental stages and in relation to brain development. Ultimately, genotype-phenotype relationships are translated to relevant human patient populations.


Recent key publications:

1: Bruining H, Matsui A, Oguro-Ando A, Kahn RS, Van't Spijker HM, Akkermans G, Stiedl O, van Engeland H, Koopmans B, van Lith HA, Oppelaar H, Tieland L, Nonkes LJ, Yagi T, Kaneko R, Burbach JP, Yamamoto N, Kas MJ.  Genetic Mapping in Mice Reveals the Involvement of Pcdh9 in Long-Term Social and Object Recognition and Sensorimotor Development. Biological Psychiatry,  2015, 78(7):485-95

2: Eskes P, Spruit M, Brinkkemper S, Vorstman J, Kas MJ. The sociability score: App-based social profiling from a healthcare perspective. Computers in Human Behavior, 2016, 59, 39-48

3: Schughart K, Libert C, and Kas MJ. Human disease: strength to strength for mouse models. Nature, 2012, 492, 41

4: Kas MJ, Kahn RS, Collier DA, Waddington JL, Ekelund J, Porteous DJ, Schughart K, Hovatta I. Translational neuroscience of schizophrenia: seeking a meeting of minds between mouse and man. Science Translational Medicine, 2011, 3(102):102mr3.

5: Laarakker MC, Reinders NR, Bruining H, Ophoff RA, Kas MJ. Sex-dependent novelty response in neurexin-1α mutant mice. PLoS One, 2012, 7(2):e31503.

  1. Establishment of a chronic activity-based anorexia rat model

    Frintrop, L., Trinh, S., Liesbrock, J., Paulukat, L., Kas, M. J., Tolba, R., Konrad, K., Herpertz-Dahlmann, B., Beyer, C. & Seitz, J. 29-Sep-2017 In : Journal of Neuroscience Methods. 293, p. 191-198 8 p.

    Research output: Scientific - peer-reviewArticle

  2. Investigation of common, low-frequency and rare genome-wide variation in anorexia nervosa

    Eating Disorder Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium 25-Jul-2017 In : Molecular Psychiatry.

    Research output: Scientific - peer-reviewArticle

  3. A genome-wide association study of anorexia nervosa suggests a risk locus implicated in dysregulated leptin signaling

    Li, X-D., Chang, X., Connolly, J. J., Tian, L., Liu, Y., Bhoj, E. J., Robinson, N., Abrams, D., Li, Y. R., Bradfield, J. P., Kim, C. E., Li, J., Wang, F., Snyder, J., Lemma, M., Hou, C., Wei, Z., Guo, Y., Qiu, H., Mentch, F. D., Thomas, K. A., Chiavacci, R. M., Cone, R., Li, B., Sleiman, P. M. A., Hakonarson, H. & Eating Disorders Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium 19-Jun-2017 In : Scientific Reports. 7, 1, 9 p., 3847

    Research output: Scientific - peer-reviewArticle

  4. Modelling autistic features in mice using quantitative genetic approaches

    Molenhuis, R. T., Bruining, H. & Kas, M. J. May-2017 Translational Anatomy and Cell Biology of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Schmeisser, M. J. & Boeckers, T. M. (eds.). Springer International Publishing, Vol. 224, p. 65-84 20 p.

    Research output: ScientificChapter

  5. Behavioural Phenotypes and Neural Circuit Dysfunctions in Mouse Models of Autism Spectrum Disorder

    Ferhat, A-T., Halbedl, S., Schmeisser, M. J., Kas, M. J., Bourgeron, T. & Ey, E. May-2017 Translational Anatomy and Cell Biology of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Schmeisser, M. J. & Boeckers, T. M. (eds.). Springer International Publishing, Vol. 224, p. 85-101 17 p. Chapter 5

    Research output: ScientificChapter

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Press / Media
  1. Launch of EQIPD EU project

    Martien Kas


    1 media contribution

    Press / Media: Public Engagement Activities

  2. Fourth PRISM newsletter released

    Martien Kas


    1 media contribution

    Press / Media: Public Engagement Activities

  3. Interview in BCN News letter

    Martien Kas


    1 media contribution

    Press / Media: Research

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  1. Invited lecture: Linking psychiatry to quantitative biology

    Kas, M. (Speaker)

    Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

  2. Invited lecture during the Dutch Neurodevelopmental Disorders day

    Kas, M. (Invited speaker)

    Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

  3. Invited lecture at the ECNP innovation meeting

    Kas, M. (Invited speaker)

    Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

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