Short CV/Education and training

  • 1996
    PhD-degree, VU University

  • 1996 – 1998
    Visiting Fellow at the American National Institute on aging in Bethesda, MD

  • 1999 – 2000
    Postdoc VU University Medical Center

  • 2000 – 2003
    Assistant/Associate Professor at Wake Forest University in North Carolina

  • 2004 – 2007
    Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry / EMGO Institute, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • Since 2004
    Principal Investigator of the national Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety

  • Since 2007
    Full Professor of Psychiatric Epidemiology, Department of Psychiatry / EMGO+ Institute / Neuroscience Campus Amsterdam, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Selected publications

  • Lamers F, Vogelzangs N, Merikangas K, de Jonge P, Beekman AJ, Penninx BW. Depression subtypes and biomarkers. Mol Psychiatry 2012; in press.

  • Rhebergen D, Lamers F, Spijker J, de Graaf R, Beekman AT, Penninx BWJH. Course trajectories of depressive disorders identified by latent class growth analysis. Psychol Med 2012; in press.

  • Seldenrijk A, van Hout HP, van Marwijk HW, de Groot E, Gort J, Rustemeijer C, Diamant M, Penninx BW. Depression, anxiety, and arterial stiffness. Biol Psychiatry 2011;69:795-803.

  • Breen G, Lewis CM, Vassos E, Pergadia ML, Blackwood DH, Boomsma DI, Penninx B, Sullivan PF, Pedroso I, Collier D, McGuffin P. Replication of association of 3p21.1 with susceptibility to bipolar disorder but not major depression. Nat Genet 2011;43:3-5.

  • Penninx BW, Nolen WA, Lamers F, Zitman FG, Smit JH, Spinhoven P, Cuijpers P, de Jong PJ, van Marwijk HW, der Meer K, Verhaak P, Laurant MG, de Graaf R, Hoogendijk WJ, der Wee N, Ormel J, van Dyck R, Beekman AT. Two-year course of depressive and anxiety disorders: Results from the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety (NESDA). J Affect Disord 2011;133:76-85.

  • Lamers F, de Jonge P, Nolen WA, Smit JH, Zitman FG, Beekman AT, Penninx BW. Identifying depressive subtypes in a large cohort study: results from the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety. J Clin Psychiatry 2010;71:1582-9.

  • Sullivan PF, de Geus EJ, et al., Boomsma DI, Penninx BW. Genome-wide association for major depressive disorder: a possible role for the presynaptic protein piccolo. Mol Psychiatry 2009;14:359-375.

  • Vink JM, Smit AB, de Geus EJC, Sullivan P, Willemsen G, Hottenga JJ, et al, Penninx BW, DI Boomsma. Genome-wide association study of smoking initiation and current smoking. Am J Hum Genet 2009;367-379.

  • Vreeburg SA, Hoogendijk WJ, van Pelt J, de Rijk RH, Verhagen JCM, van Dyck R, Smit JH, Zitman FG, Penninx BW. Major Depressive Disorder and Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activity: Results from a large cohort study. Arch Gen Psychiatry 2009;66:617-626.

  • Bet P, Penninx BW, Bochdanovitz Z, Uitterlinden AG, Beekman ATF, van Schoor NM, Deeg DJ, Hoogendijk WJ. Glucocorticoid receptor (NR3C1) gene polymorphisms and childhood adversity. Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet 2009;150B:660-9.

Complete list of publications

Selected projects

Current funding:

  • BBMRI-NL: Biobanking and Biomolecular Resources Research Infrastructure. Project title: Longitudinal DNA collection in NESDA biobank. Period: 2012-13, Role: PI.

    This project contributes to the costs of longitudinal DNA collection in NESDA.

  • VICI grant, ZonMW, the Netherlands. Project: Depression: an accelerator of biological aging? Period: 6/2011-5/2016, Role: PI

    This is a personal grant award and will examine whether depression is associated with increased biological aging, and whether this can be reversed with antidepressant and exercise treatment.

  • BBMRI-NL: Biobanking and Biomolecular Resources Research Infrastructure. Project title: Completion of GWAS for the NESDA biobank. Period: 2010-11, Role: PI.

    This project contributes costs for additional GWA scans in order to complete the GWA data for NESDA.

  • National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health. MH089951-01. Project title: Integration of genomics and transcriptomics in normal twins and major depression. PI: Sullivan. Period 10/2009-9/2011. Role: Co-I.

    This project examines the heritability of gene expression and eQTL in the Netherlands Twin Register, and examines (longitudinal) gene expression and eQTL associations with major depressive disorder in the NESDA study.

  • European Network of Genetic And Genomic Epidemiology (ENGAGE), funded through the European Community?s Seventh Framework Program (FP7-2007/2013), HEALTH-F4-2007-201413. Period:2007-2010, Role: Co-PI.

    This European grant funds data-analyses for meta-analytic GWA studies around metabolic traits such as glucose, BMI, etc.

  • Center for Medical Systems Biology (CMSB2): Multifactorial Diseases: Common Determinants, Unifying Technologies (PI: van Ommen) NWO Genomics: 2008 – 2012. Role: Co-I

    This national research infrastructure pays for data-analyses in the field of depression genetics.

  • Addiction grant, ZonMW, The Netherlands. PI Penninx, Project: Development of alcohol use disorders: the role of clinical, psychological, environmental, genetic and neurophysiological factors. Period: 2008 – 2013, Role: PI

    This project examines the onset, prevalence and course of alcohol use disorders within the NESDA study.

  • ZonMW, program mental health (Geestkracht program). Project: Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety (NESDA). Period: 1/12/2003 – 20/11/2012, Role: PI.

    This grant funds the basis NESDA infrastructure, from baseline inclusion of participants through a 6-year follow-up assessment.

Membership in scientific bodies/juries

  • European Psychiatric Association, since 2010

  • American Psychosomatic Medicine Association, since 2006

  • Young Academy, Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences and Arts, 2005 – 2011

  • Gerontological Society of America, since 1996

  • Dutch Federation of Medical Scientific Societies, since 1992

  • Netherlands Society of Epidemiology, since 1992

Additional qualifications

  • Program leader of mental health program of the EMGO+ Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Center, see

  • Program leader of the depression and anxiety program of the Neuroscience Campus Amsterdam of the VU University Medical Center, see

  • Prof.dr. Brenda Penninx (1970) is professor of Psychiatric Epidemiology.Central themes in her research are the etiology and consequences of depressive and anxiety disorders and the interaction of these disorders with physical health. She has published over 400 international articles on these subjects.

    Prof. Penninx is the principal investigator of the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety (NESDA). For more information about the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety, visit


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