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dr. M. (Marco) Boks

dr. M. (Marco) Boks

Associate Professor - medical
dr. M. (Marco) Boks
  • Psychiatry

Research Programs

Brain

Biography

Biography

Genetic, epigenetic and epidemiological studies of Gene- Environment interplay

The main theme of my research is how our genetic background shapes the influence of the environmental risk for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. 

 The idea that psychiatric disorders develop as a result of the interaction between genes and environment is generally supported. However methodological challenges of such studies have limited large scale genome wide efforts. Therefore studies that focus on the interaction between environmental risk and genetic background remain timely and necessary.

 However such genetic studies do not take into account  a more subtle but highly relevant molecular mechanisms of interactions between environment and genes that recently is identified as a key mechanism of adaptation. These mechanisms, referred to as epigenetics, are extensive and complex and to date not fully understood. Central to our understanding is that epigenetic mechanisms influences transcription of DNA by modifying access to the DNA sequences. What makes this line of research extra interesting is the potential for pharmaceutical manipulation.

To focus these studies we have chosen cannabis and trauma as a main environmental exposure. In addition to genetic variation as a modifier of environmental risk we study gene expression and DNA methylation levels. DNA methylation is central in gene-environment interaction as epigenetic silencing of risk genes is partly under the influence of environmental exposures of the probands as well as the mother. This work is supported by a NARSAD young investigators award and a Neuroscience and Cognition Utrecht stipendium. We are currently conducting a study on the influence of maternal famine in China on schizophrenia risk  and investigate epigenetic modification of the stress response in relationship with post-traumatic stress- and bipolar disorder. 

Specialties: Psychiatry, epigenetics, genetics, bio-informatics

Research line

Psychosis

Most recent key publications

1: van Gastel WA, MacCabe JH, Schubart CD, Vreeker A, Tempelaar W, Kahn RS, Boks MP. Cigarette smoking is equally strongly associated with Psychotic-Like experiences as Cannabis Use: a cross-sectional study in young Adults. Psychological Medicine 2013 Feb 18
2: Boks MP. Progress in gene environment studies. Biol Psychiatry. 2012 Nov 15;72(10):799-800.
3: Boks MP, de Jong NM, Kas MJ, Vinkers CH, Fernandes C, Kahn RS, Mill J, Ophoff RA. Current status and future prospects for epigenetic psychopharmacology. Epigenetics. 2012 Jan 1;7(1).
4: Boks MP, Derks EM, Weisenberger DJ, Strengman E, Janson E, Sommer IE, Kahn RS, Ophoff RA. The relationship of DNA methylation with age, gender and genotype in twins and healthy controls. PLoS One. 2009 Aug 26;4(8):e6767.
5: Van Gastel WA, Tempelaar W, Bun C, Schubart CD, Kahn RS, Plevier C , Boks MPM. Cannabis Use as an Indicator of Risk for Mental Health Problems in Adolescents: a population-based study at secondary schools Psychological Medicine 2012 Dec 3:1-8

Fellowship and Awards

1:  NARSAD Young Investigator Award 2010
2: Semel Institute of Neuroscience, 2009 Phenomics Travel Award

Research Output (245)

Childhood maltreatment mediates the effect of the genetic background on psychosis risk in young adults

Marchi Mattia, Elkrief Laurent, Alkema Anne, van Gastel Willemijn, Schubart Chris D, van Eijk Kristel R, Luykx Jurjen J, Branje Susan, Mastrotheodoros Stefanos, Galeazzi Gian M, van Os Jim, Cecil Charlotte A, Conrod Patricia J, Boks Marco P Dec 2022, In: Translational Psychiatry. 12 , p. 1-10

Powerful eQTL mapping through low-coverage RNA sequencing

Schwarz Tommer, Boltz Toni, Hou Kangcheng, Bot Merel, Duan Chenda, Loohuis Loes Olde, Boks Marco P, Kahn René S, Ophoff Roel A, Pasaniuc Bogdan 14 Jul 2022, In: HGG advances. 3 , p. 1-12

A computational solution for bolstering reliability of epigenetic clocks:implications for clinical trials and longitudinal tracking

Higgins-Chen Albert T., Thrush Kyra L., Wang Yunzhang, Minteer Christopher J., Kuo Pei Lun, Wang Meng, Niimi Peter, Sturm Gabriel, Lin Jue, Moore Ann Zenobia, Bandinelli Stefania, Vinkers Christiaan H., Vermetten Eric, Rutten Bart P.F., Geuze Elbert, Okhuijsen-Pfeifer Cynthia, van der Horst Marte Z., Schreiter Stefanie, Gutwinski Stefan, Luykx Jurjen J., Picard Martin, Ferrucci Luigi, Crimmins Eileen M., Boks Marco P., Hägg Sara, Hu-Seliger Tina T., Levine Morgan E. Jul 2022, In: Nature Aging. 2 , p. 644-661 18 p.

Exposure to the Amino Acids Histidine, Lysine, and Threonine Reduces mTOR Activity and Affects Neurodevelopment in a Human Cerebral Organoid Model

Berdenis van Berlekom Amber, Kübler Raphael, Hoogeboom Jeske W, Vonk Daniëlle, Sluijs Jacqueline A, Pasterkamp R Jeroen, Middeldorp Jinte, Kraneveld Aletta D, Garssen Johan, Kahn René S, Hol Elly M, de Witte Lot D, Boks Marco P 2 May 2022, In: Nutrients. 14 , p. 1-19

Characterization of HIV-1 Infection in Microglia-Containing Human Cerebral Organoids

Gumbs Stephanie B.H., Berdenis van Berlekom Amber, Kübler Raphael, Schipper Pauline J., Gharu Lavina, Boks Marco P., Ormel Paul R., Wensing Annemarie M.J., de Witte Lot D., Nijhuis Monique 16 Apr 2022, In: Viruses. 14 , p. 1-20

Exome sequencing in bipolar disorder identifies AKAP11 as a risk gene shared with schizophrenia

Palmer Duncan S, Howrigan Daniel P, Chapman Sinéad B, Adolfsson Rolf, Bass Nick, Blackwood Douglas, Boks Marco P M, Chen Chia-Yen, Churchhouse Claire, Corvin Aiden P, Craddock Nicholas, Curtis David, Di Florio Arianna, Dickerson Faith, Freimer Nelson B, Goes Fernando S, Jia Xiaoming, Jones Ian, Jones Lisa, Jonsson Lina, Kahn Rene S, Landén Mikael, Locke Adam E, McIntosh Andrew M, McQuillin Andrew, Morris Derek W, O'Donovan Michael C, Ophoff Roel A, Owen Michael J, Pedersen Nancy L, Posthuma Danielle, Reif Andreas, Risch Neil, Schaefer Catherine, Scott Laura, Singh Tarjinder, Smoller Jordan W, Solomonson Matthew, Clair David St, Stahl Eli A, Vreeker Annabel, Walters James T R, Wang Weiqing, Watts Nicholas A, Yolken Robert, Zandi Peter P, Neale Benjamin M 11 Apr 2022, In: Nature Genetics. 54 , p. 541-547 7 p.

Biomarkers in PTSD-susceptible and resistant veterans with war experience of more than ten years ago:FOCUS ON cortisol, thyroid hormones, testosterone and GABA

Feklicheva Inna, Boks Marco P., de Kloet E. Ron, Chipeeva Nadezda, Maslennikova Ekaterina, Pashkov Anton, Korobova Svetlana, Komelkova Mariia, Kuznetsova Yulia, Platkovski Pavel, Mamonova Marina, Sidorenko Olga, Vasilenko Tatyana, Tseilikman Olga, Tseilikman Vadim Apr 2022, In: Journal of Psychiatric Research. 148 , p. 258-263 6 p.

Contribution of Age, Brain Region, Mood Disorder Pathology, and Interindividual Factors on the Methylome of Human Microglia

de Witte Lot D., Wang Zhaoyu, Snijders Gijsje L.J.L., Mendelev Natalia, Liu Qingkun, Sneeboer Marjolein A.M., Boks Marco P.M., Ge Yongchao, Haghighi Fatemeh 15 Mar 2022, In: Biological Psychiatry. 91 , p. 572-581 10 p.

Untargeted metabolic analysis in dried blood spots reveals metabolic signature in 22q11.2 deletion syndrome

Korteling Dorinde, Boks Marco P, Fiksinski Ania M, van Hoek Ilja N, Vorstman Jacob A S, Verhoeven-Duif Nanda M, Jans Judith J M, Zinkstok Janneke R 9 Mar 2022, In: Translational Psychiatry. 12 , p. 1-7

Oxytocin system gene methylation is associated with empathic responses towards children

Spencer Hannah, Parianen Lesemann Franca H., Kraaijenvanger Eline J., Overbeek Geertjan, Montoya Estrella R., Branje Susan, Boks Marco P.M., Bos Peter A. Mar 2022, In: Psychoneuroendocrinology. 137 , p. 1-10

All research output

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