Christiaan H. Vinkers is psychiatrist at GGZ inGeest and associate professor at the department of psychiatry and the department of anatomy and neurosciences at Amsterdam UMC/VUmc. His key interest is vulnerability and resilience to stress.
Christiaan studied Pharmacy (2005), Law (2009), and Medicine (2009) at Utrecht University. In 2009, he finished his PhD thesis on fundamental neurobiological research and the GABA system (cum laude). Subsequently, he started his clinical training to become a psychiatrist and continued to carry out clinical research related to risk and resilience for psychiatric disorders and the role of the GABA system. In 2014, he became a psychiatrist and researcher at the Rudolf Magnus Brain Center. In 2018, he strated as researcher and psychiatrist at Amsterdam UMC/VUmc and GGZ inGeest.
His overall research objective is to investigate the neurobiological background of stress resilience and vulnerability including (epi)genetic, neuroendocrine, and brain circuitry factors, with a special interest in the GABA system. Traumatic stress, especially during early life, is a major risk factor for the development of almost all psychiatric disorders including bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depressive disorder, and schizophrenia. Moreover, stress has persistent effects on brain structure and functionality. However, considerable inter-individual differences exist in outcomes after trauma exposure. Despite decades of research, we still cannot predict which individuals are at risk and which individuals are resilient following traumatic stress. Therefore, his goal is to shed more light on the neurobiological basis of stress susceptibility. His work is sponsored by grants of the the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO, VENI), ZonMW, the Brain Center Rudolf Magnus, NARSAD, the Dutch Brain Foundation, and Neuroscience Cognition Utrecht.