Cisca Wijmenga


Since 2017       Lodewijk Sandkuijl Professor of Human Genetics, University of Groningen and University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands (endowed chair)

Since 2016      Adjunct Professor (10% position), Department of Immunology, University of Oslo, Norway

Since 2014      Director of BBMRI-NL2.0 (Biobanking Research Infrastructure)



Her work is centered on the understanding of genetic variation and how this leads to phenotypic variation, in particular the relationship to autoimmune disease. Her work is interdisciplinary and includes genetics, epidemiology, immunology, computational biology and bioinformatics. She integrates her work in cohorts with autoimmune disorders with work in a large population-based cohort: Lifelines, a prospective cohort of 167,000 individuals. Some of her contributions to science include:

  1. Elucidation of some 50% of the genetics of celiac disease, e. 57 genetic risk variants located in 39 distinct genomic regions (Nat Genet 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011)
  2. The recognition of a genetic overlap between different autoimmune diseases (Nat Rev Genet 2009)
  3. Increased our understanding of how genetic risk factors contribute to disease mechanisms (eQTLs), and how variants located in the non-coding part of the genome exert their effect (Nat Genet 2010, Plos Genet 2013)
  4. Developed genetic risk models to improve risk prediction in celiac disease (Gastroenterology 2009, Gut 2014)
  5. Used ‘omics data’ to prioritize genes from genetic loci as disease causing and for reconstruction of functional human gene networks (Am J Hum Genet, 2006)
  6. Define whole genome sequence variation and population structure in Dutch individuals (Genome of the Netherlands) (EJHG 2014, Nat Genet 2014; Genome Res 2016)
  7. Uses systems and integrative approaches to translating genetic information into biological function. For this she set up a multidimensional biobanks ‘LifeLinesDEEP’ (BMJ open 2015) and contributed to 500FG (Nat Med 2016)
  8. Was the first to perform metagenomics in ‘LifeLinesDEEP’ (Science 2016; Nat Genet 2016)
  9. Defined the genetics of cytokine production in a general population cohort 500FG (Nat Med 2016; Cell 2016)
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