Femke de Vrij received her MSc degree in Medical Biology from the University of Utrecht in 1999. As a PhD student, she worked on the molecular basis of Alzheimer′s disease at the Dutch Brain Institute (NIN) in Amsterdam and received her PhD from the University of Amsterdam in 2005. After a postdoc at the department of Clinical Genetics at the ErasmusMC, working on the neurobiology of Fragile X syndrome, she joined the Neurobiological Psychiatry group in February 2010 where she is now coordinating the induced pluripotent stem cell related projects.
Her main research is focused on the characterisation of neural cells from psychiatric patients, including schizophrenia, depression and type I bipolar disorder. Skin fibroblasts from patients and control siblings within affected families are reprogrammed to form inducible pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) which can then be differentiated into brain cells in culture. These neural cultures are used to identify disease-related changes in neural characteristics such as differentiation, morphology, outgrowth, connectivity and cell signalling.