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Dr. Alejandro Arias Vasquez

Alejandro Arias Vásquez was born in Colombia, obtained his PhD in Genetic Epidemiology in 2006, is a Principal Investigator (since 2015) and Associate Professor in Biological Neuropsychiatry in Radboud University Medical Center since 2019.

'My research activities are imbedded within three domains: (i) Genetic Epidemiology, (ii) Effects of the Gut Microbiota in neurodevelopment, and (iii) High order analysis methods of complex traits.

For over 15 years, my drive towards the discovery of genetic determinants of psychiatric disease has led me through a road full with exciting breakthroughs. My work on neuropsychological traits and neurodevelopmental disorders (mainly ADHD and ASD) allowed me to establish, at Radboud University Medical Center, the biological and statistical relevance of quantitative behavioral traits in the search for disease genes. The main contribution of this work has been to set-in a new research approach for brain imaging genetics (via my work in the ENIGMA consortium) that is currently considered one of the “standard” ways to analyse brain imaging genetics data.

Since 2013, I set-up a one-of-a-kind collaboration (in RUMC) between psychiatry, brain imaging, behaviour, genetics and microbiology in order to investigate, for the first time, the relationship between gut bacteria (the microbiota) and Neurodevelopmental disorders (ADHD, ASD and ID) and related behaviour in humans. This pioneering work has received support from the NWO through a Food & Cognition personal grant and the EU-H2020 program through an European Training Network and a Research & Innovation Action call. The latter is the Eat2beNICE project (http://newbrainnutrition.com/).

Currently, my group applies complex statistical analytical methods with a focus on maximizing the prediction and classification power of multiple biological markers (i.e. genes, microbiota) and integrating them with environmental, clinical, cognitive, and neuroimaging (brain structure and function) information in order to better characterize NDDs.'

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