PhD defence R.H. (Rosa) Mulder
- Prof.dr. H.W. Tiemeijer
- Prof.dr. M.H. van IJzendoorn
- Dr. M. Bakermans-Kranenburg
On Tuesday 19 January 2021, R.H. Mulder will defend her PhD dissertation, entitled: ‘DNA Methylation and Stress in Child Development: A population-based approach’.
In research on the interaction between genes and the environment in psychosocial development of children, attention has turned towards epigenetics. ‘Epigenetics’ are the molecular structures on and around the DNA that regulate the expression of the DNA. Because it is believed that these epigenetic structures adapt to the environment in which one grows up, epigenetics has been lauded as the putative mechanism through which ‘nature affects nurture’. Such a mechanism could explain how early stressful experiences can have major emotional psychological consequences later in life. An oftenstudied form of epigenetics is DNA methylation – a methyl group bound to the DNA sequence itself–since it is relatively easy to measure. However, research on DNA methylation is oftentimes limited by small sample sizes as well as cross-sectional study designs, which make it difficult to interpret research results within a developmental framework. In the current thesis, we therefore studied DNA methylation throughout development, in a large prospective population-based study of the Generation R Study in Rotterdam, in some cases supplemented by data from the prospective population-based Avon Longitudinal Study of Parent and Children (ALSPAC) in the United Kingdom. We studied associations between DNA methylation and stress in child development.
Due to corona, the PhD defences do not take place publicly in the usual way in the Senate Hall or in the Professor Andries Querido Room. The candidates will defend their dissertation either in a small group or online.