Educated in the Universities of Oxford and Leeds, he is a visiting associate professor of the Obstetrics and Gynecology, Tel Aviv University, Israel; adjunct professor at Obstetrics and Gynecology, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, USA and emeritus professor of Reproductive Epidemiology, University of Leeds, UK. He is member of the editorial boards of several journals and has 475 publications in various books and medical journals. The central focus of his research is screening and current projects are largely concerned with screening for Down’s syndrome and adverse outcome of pregnancy such as early preeclampsia. The principial research technique is the linked biological and data bank. Banked material (blood, urine, slides, cells and DNA) is collected from pathological pregnancies and routinely from large numbers of apparently normal pregnancies. Screening markers are investigated either prospectively on all samples or in retrospective case-control subsets. A large network of collaborators in the field provides access to vast amounts of data and samples.
He studied chemistry between 1983 and 1989 at the State University in Leiden. During his study he specialized in molecular genetics. He spent 6 months at the University Pierre and Marie Curie, Paris to study immunology and virology. Following his graduation he moved to the Catholic University of Nijmegen as PhD student. He started to work at the Department of Human Genetics, while the last three years were spent at the Department of Cell Biology and Histology. He obtained his PhD degree in 1966, the title of the thesis was “Murine creatine kinase B: cell –type specific expression and biochemical role”.
He started to work as clinical laboratory geneticist at the section of DNA Diagnostics of the Department of Human Genetics in Nijmegen in 1994. He specialized in the genetics of intellectual disability and neurological disorders. He moved to the VU University Medical Center in 2007, and became head of the section of Genome Diagnostics at the Department of Clinical Genetics. He was appointed to be the deputy head of the department.
He was the member of the Steering Committee of the United Kingdom External Quality Assessment Schemes for Molecular Genetics (UK-NEQAS). He is chair of the specialist advisory group of the joined cytogenetics and molecular genetics scheme for rapid aneuploidy detection of UK-NEQUAS). He is the chair of the Clinical Genetics steering group of the Hartwig Medical Foundation, and project leader of the TRIDENT study which aims at implementing NIPT in The Netherlands.