Professor Biomedical Data Sciences, in particular Population Epigenomics
Bas Heijmans is professor of Biomedical Data Sciences and focuses on Population Epigenomics. His drive is to understand how the regulation of our genome is tuned by both environmental signals and genetic make-up, and the impact this process has on our health throughout life. In his role as scientific coordinator of the LUMC-wide research theme Medical Genomics, he is member of the Research Council. Heijmans was appointed as Established Investigator by the Dutch Heart Foundation.
Population Epigenomics and Data Science
Research of Heijmans focuses on the discovery of changes in epigenomic regulation that are induced by the environment and genetic variation, and subsequently affect cardiometabolic health and healthy ageing. To this end, his research group performs genome-scale analyses of natural variation in population studies, including (monochorionic) twins, long-lived families and individuals who were exposed to the Dutch Famine at the end of WW2. To maximize biological insight from these studies, his group develops methodology and software tools, integrates epigenomics data with interconnected omics layers (e.g. genome and transcriptome), addresses the biological role of DNA methylation, and, more recently, applies both causal inference methods and experimental cell models to uncover causal epigenomic mechanisms. The long-term perspective of the research is to spur on the development of personalized medicine.
Bas Heijmans studied Biology at the Leiden University (cum laude) and performed his doctoral research at the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research TNO. The title of his thesis reads ‘Common Gene variants and mortality in the population at large’ for which he obtained his PhD from the Leiden University in 2000. Since then he works at the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC), first on genetic epidemiology and from 2006 onward as group leader focusing on epigenetics. He initiated the BIOS Consortium (2011) in which Dutch biobanks share multi-omics data resulting in over 50 high-impact publication so far. In addition, he leads the Twinlife study, a longitudinal investigation of fetal discordance in monochorionic twins, which is a collaboration with the Willem-Alexander Children’s Hospital of the LUMC. In May 2020, he was appointed Professor of Biomedical Data Sciences focusing on Population Epigenomics and on April 22, 2022 he gave his inaugural lecture entitled ‘Searching at the intersection’. He is scientific coordinator of the LUMC-wide research theme Medical Genomics. Also, he is a member of the Dekker Grant Committee of the Dutch Heart Foundation, and the organizing committees of the Wellcome Trust conference Epigenomics of Common Diseases and the congress NWO Life. Finally, he his section editor Epigenetics for the journal Aging Cell.
Prizes and honourable appointments
Bas Heijmans is appointed as Established Investigator by the Dutch Heart Foundation (2017). In 2018, he received the Dutch Data Prize on behalf of Dutch biobanks collaborating to make available large-scale multi-omics data through the BIOS Consortium and the BBMRI-omics platform. In 2019, he won the Grant for Growth Innovation.
No relevant ancillary activities