Roel de Rijk, Dr.

  • Assistant Professor

E-mail address
Faculty of Science, Leiden/Amsterdam Center for Drug Research, Medical Pharmacology
Office address
Gorlaeus Laboratories
Einsteinweg 55
2333 CC Leiden


Roel de Rijk studied Biology with Chemistry at the Univesity of Leiden and graduated in 1988. He received his PhD degree in 1992 at the Department of Pharmacology at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (Prof.dr. F.J.H. Tilders). Topic was the bidirectional communication between central stress-systems and the immune system. From 1993 to 1996 he was a postdoctoral fellow at the NIHM in Bethesda, USA, working on corticosteroid sensitivity of the immune system and in autoimmune disorders (Prof.dr. E.M. Sternberg). A major focus became the genetics of corticosteroid receptors. After one year as a post-doc in the group of Prof.dr. E.R. de Kloet, he became head of the laboratory of the Psychiatric Hospital Endegeest (1998-2004). In 2004, he returned to the Division of Medical Pharmacology to work on the implications of common human genetic variants of the mineralocorticoid receptor for health and disease. He also has an appointment at the Department of Psychiatry of the LUMC.

My major drive is to understand the role of corticosteroids in human pathology. One approach to this problem is to study genetic variability as a determinant of vulnerability for disease. Focus is on the mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) gene, which is expressed in many tissues including the kidney and the brain. We described in vitro functional effects of this common genetic variability in the human MR-gene. These MR-gene variants are associated with changes in human HPA axis responsiveness following a challenge. Currently we are studying the consequences of MR-gene variants on stress-related disorders such as anxiety and depression.