Prof Dr B.P.F. Rutten

Biosketch Bart P. F. Rutten

Bart P.F. Rutten, M.D. and Ph.D., chairs the department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology within the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences as well as the clinical department of Psychiatry at the academic medical centre in Maastricht, Maastricht University Medical Centre (MUMC+), in Maastricht, the Netherlands.

He is professor of Psychiatry, and previously was appointed as Professor of Neuroscience of Mental Illness within the School for Mental Health and Neuroscience ( and is connected with the European Graduate School of Neuroscience (EURON:, and acts a board member of the Brain + Nerve Centre (BNC) at MUMC+ (  

Together with prof. Alexander Sack and prof. Arno Riedl, he is Director of the inter-faculty Center for Integrative Neuroscience (CIN) at Maastricht University (,

Bart Rutten is an internationally renowned academic scientist and clinician in translational neuroscience on gene-environment interplay and epigenetics in mental disorders. He studied medicine at Maastricht University and the Catholic University in Louvain (Belgium) and graduated as medical doctor with first class honours in 2000. During his MD and PhD period, Bart performed research at RWTH University in Aachen, the University of California in San Francisico, Emory University (Atlanta), and at Maastricht University. He obtained his PhD degree with first class honours in 2005 on the topic of “Mechanisms of neuronal loss in ageing and Alzheimer’s disease. From 2004, he followed the academic residency training program for the medical specialization in Psychiatry in Maastricht. From 2009 onwards, Bart Rutten has been active as a certified clinical psychiatrist, combining his clinical activities with teaching, management and particularly research on translational psychiatry. From 2013 – 2017, Bart Rutten has chaired the division of Neuroscience within the school for Mental Health and Neuroscience, and since 2017 he has become the chair of the department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology as well as the chair of the clinical department of Psychiatry at MUMC+.

Driven by his combined background and activities as clinical psychiatrist and neuroscientist, Bart Rutten has performed translational and multidisciplinary research projects on gene-environment interactions and neuroepigenetics in relation to mental health and illness. His research approach is characterized by combining human observational studies (longitudinal epidemiological cohorts as well as post-mortem brain studies) with molecular biological analyses and with in-vivo and ex-vivo experimental animal and cell culture studies. His research has revealed biological underpinnings of differential susceptibility to the impact of environmental stressors on mental health, in relation to psychosis, post-traumatic stress disorder and dementia, and his results have been published in the highest-ranking journals (e.g. Nature, Molecular Psychiatry, Nature Neuroscience, JAMA Psychiatry).

In order to address his objectives of identifying determinants and neurobiological mechanisms underlying onset and course of mental disorders, Bart Rutten drives and coordinates several multinational research projects focussing on gene-environmental interactions, involving the world’s largest project on gene-environment interactions in schizophrenia and the first longitudinal, genome-wide studies on epigenetic changes in relation to risk and resilience to the effects of traumatic stress on mental health trajectories (within international and transatlantic collaborative networks).  His team has furthermore taken important steps in establishing i) links between epigenetic mechanisms on the central nervous system and dietary and social influences in dementia, and ii) how epigenetic mechanisms may regulate susceptibility to develop mental ill-health after exposure to several environmental factors (including psychological trauma) across the life span.  For the support of his research, dr. Rutten has received grants from the Netherlands Scientific Organisation, i.e. personal grants, a VENI award and VIDI award on “neuroepigenetics and resilience” as well as the NWO Graduate School of Translational Neuroscience (subsidising four PhD projects), and from the European Union.  European funding was received for two Marie Curie fellowships, for the large Horizon Europe funded project Youth-GEMS on gene-environment interactions underlying mental health trajectories in youth (which prof. Rutten leads together with vice-coordinator dr. Sinan Guloksuz since 2022, and for the large collaborative project EU-GEI, the European Network of national network studying gene-environment interaction in schizophrenia; as co-coordinator with prof. Jim van Os and funded in 2010.

He is furthermore member of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium ( ), with contributions to the schizophrenia and PTSD workgroups. These collaborative networks and acquired funds have enabled him to deepen and extend research on epigenetics and gene-environmental interplay in relation to the neurobiology underlying differential trajectories of risk and resilience to the effects of environmental factors on mental health.  

Bart Rutten is furthermore involved in several curricula and courses at the Faculty of Health Medicine and Life Sciences (refer to educational section of FHML website:, and in interfaculty research master program together with the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience (  

In order to disseminate his research findings, Bart Rutten has presented at numerous conferences, academic and clinical institutes and he has contributed to knowledge valorisation through  his editorship of the book “Neuroepigenetic and mental illness” (, through Book Chapters in the books “Psychiatrie en Genetica” (Claes S, van Os J; uitgeverij de Tijdstroom; 2013), “Leerboek Persoonlijke Psychiatrie” (Bak M, Domen P, van Os J; Diagnosis Uitgevers; 2017), “Handboek Neurowetenschappen van psychiatrische stoornissen” (in preparation), and contributions to information sources in the public domain such as and newspapers.

Bart’s mission to continuously connect clinical and fundamental neurosciences and to connect and bring academics together with the general public, students, clinicians and with experts by experience can be summarized in his statement “Neuroscience connects”, which was also the title of a 1 day symposium held at the day of his inauguration to his professorship in 2016.

For further information on the school for Mental Health and Neuroscience (see, division Translational Neuroscience (see, research lines Neuroepigenetics (see and the other research lines of MHeNS such as neuroinflammation (see, neuromodulation.

For international peer-reviewed publications see: