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POSITION TITLE: Assistant Professor
|Institution and location
||Field of Study
|University of Groningen, The Netherlands
|Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands
||Medicine / Pediatric Surgery
|Netherlands Institute for Health Sciences (NIHES), Rotterdam, The Netherlands
My research focuses on understanding genetic and epigenetic processes underlying cardiometabolic phenotypes in pregnant women and children. I have a background in medicine and (genetic) epidemiology and extensive experience leading and participating in genome- and epigenome-wide association studies in international consortia. I am Assistant Professor in the Generation R Study Group at Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Within this population-based birth cohort study of almost 10,000 children, my research focus is genetic and epigenetic studies of cardiometabolic phenotypes in mothers and children, working with genome-wide and epigenome-wide association data within large-scale international consortia, mainly the EGG (Early Growth Genetics) and EAGLE (Early Genetics & Lifecourse Epidemiology) consortia, with over 30,000 participants, and the PACE (Pregnancy And Childhood Epigenetics) consortium, with almost 10,000 participants. Within these consortia, I lead or co-lead multiple projects.
Highlighted publications specifically relevant for the current application:
1. 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. accepted.
2. 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.
3. Felix JF*, Bradfield JP, Monnereau C, ……, Timpson NJ, Grant SF, Jaddoe VW. Genome-wide association analysis indentifies three new susceptibility loci for childhood body mass index. Hum Mol Genet. 2016;25(2):389-403.
* denotes equal contributions
Experience in collaborative research
• Genome-wide association studies in the international EGG (Early Growth Genetics) & EAGLE (Early Genetics & Lifecourse Epidemiology) Consortia; (Co-) leader of multiple projects.
• Epigenome-wide association studies in the PACE (Pregnancy And Childhood Epigenetics) Consortium: (Co-) leader of multiple projects.
• 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 an EU-funded Horizon 2020 research programme.
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
Other relevant experience and Professional Memberships
• Fellow of the European Society of Cardiology
• Member of the European Association for Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation
• Member of the Netherlands Epidemiology Society
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.
a. 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.
b. Vogelezang S, Gishti O, Felix JF, van der Beek EM, Abrahamse-Berkeveld M, Hofman A, Gaillard R, Jaddoe VW. Tracking of abdominal subcutaneous and preperitoneal fat mass during childhood. The generation R study. Int J Obes (Lond). 2015 Dec 21. [Epub ahead of print]
c. Punwasi RV, Monnereau C, Hofman A, Jaddoe VW, Felix JF. The Influence of Known Genetic Variants on Subclinical Cardiovascular Outcomes in Childhood: Generation R Study. Circ Cardiovasc Genet. 2015;8(4):596-602.
d. 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 and folate levels in pregnancy. We have also analyzed the associations of prenatal maternal stress and methylation in cord blood.
a. 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. Accepted.
b. 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.
c. Rijlaarsdam J, Pappa I, Walton E, ……, Felix JF, …… Barker ED, Tiemeier H, van IJzendoorn MH. An epigenome-wide association meta-analysis of prenatal maternal stress in neonates: A model approach for replication. Epigenetics. 2016 Feb 18 [Epub ahead of print].
* 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.
a. 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.
b. 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.
c. 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.
d. 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
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