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Personal information

Lannie  Ligthart

I am a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Biological Psychology, VU University. 

In 2010 I finished my PhD on the genetics and comorbidity of migraine. During my PhD, I focused on the genetic factors underlying migraine, and the relationship between migraine and depression, which frequently co-occur. While studying migraine, I became increasingly fascinated by the fact that depressed patients suffer so much pain. Not only do they report a lot of migraine, virtually all types of pain are highly prevalent in these patients. However, little is known about the underlying mechanisms. It has been argued that pain symptoms should be considered symptoms of depression, and my PhD research suggests this may also be the case for migraine. Alternatively, there might be a causal relationship between depression and pain.

Therefore, I decided to broaden my horizon and include other types of (chronic) pain in my research. Supported by an EMGO+ fellowship, I recently finished a new wave of data collection on pain and depression at the Netherlands Twin Registry to address this issue.

In 2013, I received an EFIC-Grünenthal Grant  for a study on the longitudinal development of symptom profiles in individuals with pain and anxious depression.