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Janine Felix



Janine Felix

Phone+31 (0)10 70 43997

Biographical Sketch

POSITION TITLE: Assistant Professor


Institution and location Degree Completion Date Field of Study
University of Groningen, The Netherlands MD 1995-2002 Medicine
Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands PhD 2003-2007 Medicine / Pediatric Surgery
Netherlands Institute for Health Sciences (NIHES), Rotterdam, The Netherlands MSc 2007-2008 Epidemiology

Personal Statement

I am senior researcher and principal investigator epigenetic epidemiology of the Generation R Study at Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Within this population-based birth cohort study of almost 10,000 children, my research focuses on understanding molecular processes underlying cardiometabolic phenotypes in pregnant women and children. I work mostly with genome-wide and epigenome-wide association data within large-scale international consortia, mainly the EGG (Early Growth Genetics) consortium, with over 30,000 participants, and the PACE (Pregnancy And Childhood Epigenetics) consortium, with around 20,000 participants. I have extensive experience leading and participating in genome- and epigenome-wide association studies in these consortia.


I am also study coordinator of the Generation R Study. In this capacity, I work with the study team on the operational running and strategic planning of the study and I am responsible for the ethical and legal aspects of the study.


I have published 120 peer-reviewed papers in international journals (H-index: 30) and currently supervise 4 PhD students.


Collaborative research

  • Genome-wide association studies in the international EGG (Early Growth Genetics) & EAGLE (Early Genetics & Lifecourse Epidemiology) Consortia; (Co-) leader of multiple projects, including the genome-wide association studies of childhood body mass index and early skeletal growth.
  • Epigenome-wide association studies in the PACE (Pregnancy And Childhood Epigenetics) Consortium: (Co-) leader of multiple projects, including the epigenome-wide association studies on childhood body mass index and birth weight.
  • Genome-wide association studies within the CHARGE (Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology). Co-leader and main analyst of the echocardiography and heart failure working groups.
  • DynaHEALTH consortium: Co-leader of the work package on early life in this EU-Horizon 2020-funded project.
  • LifeCycle consortium: Leader of the epigenetics and the ethics work packages in this EU-Horizon 2020-funded project.

Positions and Honors

Positions and Employment
2002 - 2003: Resident, Isala Clinics, Zwolle, the Netherlands, Department of Pediatrics
2003 - 2007: Research fellow / PhD student, Erasmus MC – Sophia Children’s Hospital, Rotterdam, the Netherlands, Department of Pediatric Surgery
2004 - 2008: Physician, Sanquin Bloodbank Southwest Netherlands, Rotterdam (part-time)
2008 – 2011: Post-doctoral researcher, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, the Netherlands, Department of Epidemiology, Cardiovascular Epidemiology Group
Feb – Oct 2011: Post-doctoral researcher, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Division of Clinical Epidemiology and Aging Research, Heidelberg, Germany
Dec 2011 – Oct 2013: Assistant Professor, ErasmusAGE (research line on healthy ageing), Department of Epidemiology, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
Oct 2013 – current: Assistant Professor, the Generation R Study Group & Department of Epidemiology, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Aug 2016 – current: Study Coordinator, the Generation R Study Group, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Contributions to Science

1. Childhood overweight and obesity is an important public health problem associated with adverse short- and long-term effects on both physical and mental health. Childhood body mass index tracks into adulthood. A large number of genetic loci are associated with adult body mass index. However, the genetics of childhood body mass index are largely unknown. Unraveling the biological mechanisms underlying body mass index may help understand the processes that lead to childhood overweight and obesity. With our group and within the EGG (Early Growth Genetics) consortium we have recently published a number of papers on this topic, in which we have shown that there is overlap in the genetic background of childhood and adult body mass index, but there may be age-related differences in strength of the associations of genetic loci with body mass index. I have led the meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies on childhood body mass index and was the senior investigator on a study on the effects of known genetic loci for adult body mass index on body composition in children and on a related study on the effects of known genetic loci on subclinical cardiovascular outcomes in children.


  1. Richmond RC, Timpson NJ, Felix JF, Palmer T, Gaillard R, McMahon G, Davey Smith G, Jaddoe VW, Lawlor DA. Using Genetic Variation to Explore the Causal Effect of Maternal Pregnancy Adiposity on Future Offspring Adiposity: A Mendelian Randomisation Study. PLoS Med. 2017;14(1):e1002221.
  2. Horikoshi M, Beaumont RN, Day FR, …, Ong KK*, Felix JF*, Timpson NJ*, Perry JR*, Evans DM*, McCarthy MI*, Freathy RM*. Genome-wide associations for birth weight and correlations with adult disease. Nature. 2016;538(7624):248-252.
  3. Felix JF*, Bradfield JP*, Monnereau C*, …, Timpson NJ, Grant SF, Jaddoe VW; Early Growth Genetics (EGG) Consortium; Bone Mineral Density in Childhood Study BMDCS. Genome-wide association analysis identifies three new susceptibility loci for childhood body mass index. Hum Mol Genet. 2016;25(2):389-403.
  4. Tyrrell J, Richmond RC, Palmer TM, …, Felix JF, Hyppönen E, Lowe WL Jr, Frayling TM, Lawlor DA, Freathy RM; Early Growth Genetics (EGG) Consortium.. Genetic Evidence for Causal Relationships Between Maternal Obesity-Related Traits and Birth Weight. JAMA. 2016;315(11):1129-40. 
  5. Vogelezang S, Monnereau C, Gaillard R, Renders CM, Hofman A, Jaddoe VW, Felix JF. Adult adiposity susceptibility loci, early growth and general and abdominal fatness in childhood: the Generation R Study. Int J Obes (Lond). 2015;39(6):1001-9.

    * denotes equal contributions


2. Changes in DNA-methylation may underlie the associations of early life exposures and later life health. Genome-wide methylation can be studied in large cohorts using relatively new methylation arrays, which measure methylation at more than 450,000 methylation sites (CpG sites). These DNA-methylation data can be used for epigenome-wide association studies (EWAS). Within the international PACE consortium, we have recently shown that multiple CpG sites are associated with maternal smoking, folate levels and body mass index in pregnancy. We have also analyzed the associations of prenatal maternal stress and alcohol use and methylation in cord blood. 


  1. Sharp GC, Salas LA, Monnereau C, …, London SJ*, Felix JF*, Relton CL*. Maternal BMI at the start of pregnancy and offspring epigenome-wide DNA methylation: Findings from the Pregnancy and Childhood Epigenetics (PACE) Consortium. Hum Mol Genet. 2017;26(20):4067-4085.
  2. Joubert BR*, Felix JF*, Yousefi P*, …, Wilcox A, Melén E, London SJ. Maternal smoking in pregnancy and DNA methylation in newborns: Genome-wide consortium meta-analysis. Am J Hum Genet. 2016;98(4):680-96.
  3. Joubert BR*, den Dekker HT*, Felix JF, ……., Nystad W, Duijts L, London SJ. Maternal plasma folate impacts differential DNA methylation in an epigenome-wide meta-analysis of newborns. Nat Commun. 2016;7:10577.
  4. Felix JF*, Joubert BR*, Baccarelli AA*….., Relton CL, Jaddoe VWV, London SJ. Cohort profile: Pregnancy and Childhood Epigenetics (PACE) Consortium. Int J Epidemiol. 2018;47(1):22-23u.
  5. Gervin K, Page CM, Aass HC, ..., Staff AC, Felix JF, Lyle R. Cell type specific DNA methylation in cord blood: A 450K-reference data set and cell count-based validation of estimated cell type

    composition. Epigenetics. 2016;11(9):690-698.

    * denotes equal contributions


3. Understanding the determinants of heart failure may help in prevention and treatment of this disease that is increasing in prevalence. Changes in echocardiographic measures of cardiac structure and function may precede overt heart failure. Within the CHARGE consortium, I have worked as a main analyst and shared first author on the genetic background of heart failure and echocardiographic phenotypes. We have found multiple loci associated with echocardiographic traits, mostly for aortic root diameter and left ventricular diameter. We have also identified genetic loci for incident heart failure and heart failure mortality.


  1. Smith JG, Felix JF, Morrison AC, …, Vasan RS, Cappola TP, Smith NL. Discovery of Genetic Variation on Chromosome 5q22 Associated with Mortality in Heart Failure. PLoS Genet. 2016;12(5):e1006034.
  2. Smith NL*, Felix JF*, Morrison AC*, …, Witteman JC, Boerwinkle E, Vasan RS. Association of

    genome-wide variation with the risk of incident heart failure in adults of European and African ancestry: a prospective meta-analysis from the cohorts for heart and aging research in genomic epidemiology (CHARGE) consortium. Circ Cardiovasc Genet. 2010;3(3):256-66.

  3. Morrison AC*, Felix JF*, Cupples LA*, …, Witteman JC, Vasan RS, Smith NL. Genomic variation

    associated with mortality among adults of European and African ancestry with heart failure: the cohorts for heart and aging research in genomic epidemiology consortium. Circ Cardiovasc Genet. 2010;3(3):248-55.

  4. Vasan RS*, Glazer NL*, Felix JF*, …, Schmidt H, Völzke , Blankenberg S. Genetic variants

    associated with cardiac structure and function: a meta-analysis and replication of genome-wide association data. JAMA. 2009;302(2):168-78.

    * denotes equal contributions


Complete list of published work in MyBibliography:




Research Support

Ongoing Research Support
H2020-PHC-2014-Grant no.633595: DynaHEALTH, Järvelin (PI), 04/01/15-03/31/19
The goal of this study is to increase healthy and active ageing through reducing the risks of obesity and type 2 diabetes, and promoting social functioning and a longer working life, by using a dynamic life course model characterizing the combined pathological effects of glucose metabolism and psychosocial stress with impact on the health and working ability of individuals as they age.
Role: Work package co-lead


H2020-SC1-2016-RTD-Grant no.733206: LIFECYCLE                    Jaddoe (PI)                                                                 01/01/17-01/01/22

The goal of this project is to improve health trajectories for current and future Europeans generations by optimizing their earliest phase of life. LIFECYCLE will establish a network of existing, successful European pregnancy and child cohorts and biobanks and to enrich this network by generating new integrated data on early life stressors. LIFECYCLE will capitalize on these data by performing hypothesis-driven research on early life stressors influencing cardio-metabolic, respiratory and mental health trajectories during the full lifecycle, and the underlying epigenetic mechanisms.

Role: Lead of two work packages


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