Concordia University



Dr. Linda Booij , PhD

Associate Professor and Concordia University Research Chair in Eating Disorders, Psychology
FRQS Chercheur Boursier Senior
Co-Director, Centre for Clinical Research in Health (CCRH)

Office: L-SP 253-03 
Richard J. Renaud Science Complex,
7141 Sherbrooke W.
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 5789
Website(s): CCRH

Research Interests

Numerous studies have shown that adverse exposures in utero or in the first years of life (e.g., malnutrition, emotional or physical abuse, harsh parenting) can lead to a variety of mental health difficulties later on. These difficulties include (but are not limited to) depression and eating disorders. 
Early adverse exposures in utero or in the first years of life can affect the brain in many different ways; however, the neurotransmitter serotonin is of particular interest. That is because serotonin is (i) widely implicated in a variety of psychopathologies and (ii) important for brain development, especially during infancy or childhood  (i.e., serotonin, in fact, helps to actually “build up the brain”). The overarching theme of our research program is that early adversity could disrupt the stability of certain brain chemicals (e.g., serotonin). This in turn influences the early development of brain regions involved in emotion regulation, and could predispose the individual to psychological problems later in life, particularly when exposed to subsequent stressful events. The studies we are conducting are done in clinical and non-clinical populations and use neuro-imaging (fMRI/PET), epigenetics (DNA methylation, HDACs) and/or cognitive-behavioural assessments, and is funded by various sources, including CIHR, NSERC, NARSAD and QBIN. 

Topics of ongoing research projects include:
- Brain development and eating disorders
DNA methylation and eating disorders
- Social-cognition and emotional-cognitive processing in eating disorders
- Impact of childhood trauma on histone deacetylases in adulthood.
- In utero environment / adversity and brain development in children and associated epigenetic mechanisms
- Gene-environment studies on brain and mental health, using twin designs


PhD (Leiden University, the Netherlands)

Teaching activities

Mood, Anxiety and Personality Disorders (psyc440)


Selected recent publications

Scardera, S., Sacco, S., Di Sante, J., & Booij, L. (2020). Body image-related cognitive fusion: Role of disordered eating, self-compassion and sad mood. Eating and Weight Disorders, Feb 21. doi: 10.1007/s40519-020-00868-w. [Epub ahead of print]

Thaler, L., Brassard, S., Booij, L., Kahan, E., McGregor, K., Labbe, A., Israel, M., & Steiger, H. (2020). Methylation of the OXTR gene in women with Anorexia Nervosa: Relationship to social behavior. European Eating Disorders Review, 28: 79-86. doi:10.1002/erv.2703

Brietzke, E., Booij, L., Wieck, A., Soares, C. N., Roberts, N., & Khalid-Khan, S. (2020). A discussion of potential clinical markers predicting anti-inflammatory treatment response in individuals with major depression. Brain, Behavior and Immunity, 83: 3–4. doi:10.1016/j.bbi.2019.08.197

Gouin JP, Wrosch C, McGrath J, Booij L. (2020). Interpersonal capitalization moderates the associations of chronic caregiving stress and depression with inflammation. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 112. doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2019.104509

Gouin, J., Paquin, C., Wrosch, C., McGrath, J., Arbour, N., Booij, L. (2020). Marital quality and inflammation: the moderating role of early life adversity. Health Psychology, 39: 58–67. doi:10.1037/hea0000790

Arias, J., Williams, C., Raghvani, R., Aghajani, M., Baez, S., Belzung, C., Booij, L., Busatto, G., Chiarella, J., Fu, C., Ibanez, A., Liddell, B., Lowe, L., Penninx, B., Rosa, P., & Kemp, A. (2020). The neuroscience of sadness: A multidisciplinary synthesis and collaborative review for the human affectome project. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 111: 199–228. doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2020.01.006 

Booij, L. (2019). Genetic and epigenetic regulation of CRTC1 in human eating behaviour and fat distribution: Methodological and clinical insights and considerations. EBioMedicine45:15–16. doi:10.1016/j.ebiom.2019.06.019

Sild, M. & Booij, L. (2019). Histone deacetylase 4 (HDAC4) – a new player in anorexia nervosa? Molecular Psychiatry24: 1425–1434.

Kirkpatrick, R., Booij, L. Vance, A., Marshall, B., Kanellos-Sutton, M., Marchand, P., &Khalid-Khan, S. (2019). Eating disorders and substance use in adolescents: How substance users differ from non-substance users in an outpatient eating disorders treatment clinic. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 52: 175–182 .doi: 10.1002/eat.23017.

Steiger, H.**, Booij, L.**, Kahan, E., McGregor, K., Thaler, L., Labbe, A., Joober, R., Israël,M., Szyf, M., Agellon, L., Fletcher, E., Gauvin, L., St-Hilaire, A., &Rossi, E. (2019). A longitudinal, epigenomewide study of DNA methylation in Anorexia Nervosa: Results in actively ill, partially weight restored, long-term remitted, and non-eating-disordered women. Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, 44(2):1-9. ** shared first-authorship

McIver, T., Bosma, R., Goegan, S., Sandre, A., Klassen, J., Chiarella, J., Booij, L., Craig, W. (2019). Functional connectivity across social inclusion and exclusion is related to peer victimization and depressive symptoms in young adults. Journal of Affective Disorders253: 366–375. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2019.04.085. 

Van den Heuvel, M.P., Scholtens, L.H., van der Burgh, H.K., Agosta, F., Alloza, C., Arango, C., Auyeung, B., Baron-Cohen, S., Basaia, S., Benders, M.J.N.L., Beyer, F., Booij, L.,...., .....,Zhang, R. & de Lange, S.C.(2019). 10Kin1day: A bottom-up neuroimaging initiative. Frontiers in Neurology, May 9;10:425. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2019.00425. eCollection 2019.

Nguyen, T-V., Jones, S.L.,Gower, T., Albaugh, M.D., Botteron, K.N., Hudziak, J.J., Fonov, V.S., Campbell,B.C., Booij, L., Herba, C.M., Monnier, P., Ducharme, S.,Waber, D., & McCracken, J.T. (2019). Age-specific associations between oestradiol, cortico-amygdalar structural covariance, and verbal and spatial skills. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 31, 4  doi:10.1111/jne.12698.

Farooqi, N.A.I, Scotti, M., Yu,A., Lew, J., Monnier, P., Botteron, K., Campbell, B.C., Booij, L.,Herba, C., Seguin, J.R., Castellanos-Ryan, N., McCracken, J.T., & Nguyen,T-V. (2019).  Sex-specific contribution of DHEA-Cortisol ratio toprefrontal-hippocampal structural development, cognitive abilities and personality traits. Journal of Endocrinology, 31(2) e12682. doi:10.1111/jne.12682

Ismaylova, E., Lévesque, M.L., Pomares, F.B., Szyf, M., Nemoda, Z., Fahim, C.,Vitaro, F., Brendgen, M., Dionne, G., Boivin, M., Tremblay, R.E., & Booij, L. (2018). Serotonin transporter promoter methylation in peripheral cells and neural responses to negative stimuli: A study of adolescent monozygotic twins. Translational Psychiatry, 8:147. doi:10.1038/s41398-018-0195-6

Di Sante, J., Ismaylova, E., Nemoda, Z., Gouin, J-P, Yu, W-J., Caldwell, W.,Vitaro, F., Szyf, M., Tremblay, R.E., & Booij, L. (2018).Peripheral DNA methylation of HPA axis-related genes in humans: cross-tissue convergence, two-year stability and behavioural and neural correlates. Psychoneuroendocrinology,97: 196-205. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2018.07.019

Calancie, O., Khalid-Khan, S., Booij, L., Munoz, D. (2018). EMDR as treatment for PTSD: current neurobiological theories and a new hypothesis, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Jun 21.doi: 10.1111/nyas.13882. [Epub ahead of print].

Ismaylova,E., Di Sante, J., Gouin, J-P,Pomares, F.B., Vitaro, F., Tremblay, R.E.,& Booij, L.(2018). Neural correlates of daily mood states in healthy adults. Frontiers Human Neuroscience, 2018; doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2018.00168.

Farrell,C., Doolin, K., O’ Leary, N., Jairaj, C., Roddy, D., Tozzi, L., Morris, D.,Harkin, A., Frodl, T., Nemoda, Z., Szyf, M., Booij, L., & O’Keane, V.(2018). DNA methylation differences at the glucocorticoid receptor gene indepression are related to functional alterations in hypothalamic-pituitary adrenalaxis activity and to early life emotional abuse. Psychiatry Research, 265:341-348.  

Ottenhof,K.W, Sild, M., Levesque, M., Ruhe, E., Booij, L. (2018). TPH2 polymorphisms across the spectrum of psychiatric morbidity: a systematic review and meta-analysis of candidate gene studies. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 92: 29-42. 

McIver,T., Bosma, R., Sandre, A., Goegan, S., Klassen, J., Chiarella, J., Booij, L., Craig, W. (2018). Peer Victimization is associated with altered neural response to social exclusion. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly. 64:135-161.

Tozzi,L., Farrell, C., Booij, L., Doolin, K., Nemoda, Z., Szyf, M.,Pomares, F.B., Chiarella, J., O’Keane, V., & Frodl, T. (2018). Epigenetic changes of FKBP5 as a link connecting genetic and environmental risk factors with structural and functional brain changes in major depression. Neuropsychopharmacology,43(5), 1138-1145. Doi: 10.1038/npp.2017.290

Nuñez,N., Comai, S., Dumitrescu, E., Ghabrash, M., Tabaka, J., Saint-Laurent, M., Vida,S., Kolivakis, T., Fielding, A., Low, N., Cervantes, P., Booij, L.,& Gobbi, G.(2018). Psychopathological and sociodemographic features intreatment-resistant unipolar depression cersus Bipolar I And II depression: A comparative Study. BMC Psychiatry, 18, 68.

Tuvblad,C., Sild, M., Frogner, C., & Booij, L. (2018). Behavioral genetics of aggression and Intermittent Explosive Disorder. In Coccaro, E. (Editor). Intermittent Explosive Disorder. In press.

Nguyen,T-V., Wu, M., Lew, J., Albaugh, M.D., Bittern, K.N., Hudziak, J.J., Fonov,V.S., Collins, D.L., Campbell, B.C., Booij, L., Herba, C.,Monnier, P., Ducharme, S., McCracken, J.T. (2017). Dehydroepiandrosterone impacts working memory by shaping cortico-hippocampal structural covariance during development. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 86, 110-121.

Sild,M., Ruthazer, E.S., Booij, L. (2017).  Major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders from the glial perspective: etiological mechanisms, intervention and monitoring. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 83, 474-488.

Tao,C.S., Dhamija, P., Booij, L., Menard, C. (2017). Adversity inearly adolescence promotes an enduring anxious phenotype and increases serotonergic innervation of the infralimbic medial prefrontal cortex. Neuroscience, 364,15-27.

Ismaylova,E., Di Sante, J., Szyf, M., Nemoda, Z., Yu, W-J., Pomares, F., Turecki, G.,Gobbi, G., Vitaro, F., Tremblay, R.E., Booij, L. (2017).Serotonin transporter gene methylation in peripheral cells in healthy adults: neural correlates and tissue specificity. European Neuropsychopharmacology, 27,1032-1041.

Schumann,L., Boivin, M., Paquin, S., La Course, E., Brendgen, M., Vitaro, F., Dionne,G., Tremblay, R.E., Booij, L. (2017). Persistence and innovation effects in genetic and environmental factors in negative emotionality during infancy: A twin study. PlosOne. 12, e0176601.

Casey,K. F., Levesque, M. L., Szyf, M., Ismaylova, E., Verner, M. P., Suderman, M.,... & Booij, L. (2017). Birth weight discordance, DNA methylation, and cortical morphology of adolescent monozygotic twins. Human Brain Mapping38, 2037-2050.

Booij, L., Welfeld, K., Leyton, M., Dagher, A., Boileau, I., Sibon, I.,Baker, G.B.,  Diksic, M., Soucy, J-P., Pruessner, J.C., Cawley – Fiset,E., Casey, K.F., Benkelfat, C.(2016). Dopamine cross-sensitization between psychostimulant drugs and stress in healthy male volunteers. Translational Psychiatry, 6:e740.

Roberts,N., Booij, L., Axas, N., & Repetti, L. (2016). Two-yearprospective study of characteristics and outcome of adolescents referred to an adolescent urgent psychiatric clinic. International journal of adolescent medicine and health, 30, 1. doi: 10.1515/ijamh-2016-0006. 

Khachatryan,D.,  Groll, D., Booij, L.,  Sepehry, A.,  Schütz,C.G. (2016). Prazosin for treating sleep disturbances in adults with PostTraumatic Stress Disorder: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. General Hospital Psychiatry, 39, 46-52.

Mazza,J. R., Pingault, J. B., Booij, L., Boivin, M., Tremblay, R.,Lambert, J., ... & Côté, S. (2016). Poverty and behavior problems duringearly childhood The mediating role of maternal depression symptoms and parenting. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 0165025416657615.

Chiarella, J., Tremblay, R.E., Szyf, M., Provençal, N., Booij, L.(2015). Impactof early environment on children's mental health: Lessons from DNA methylationstudies with monozygotic twins. Twin Res Hum Genet, 18, 623-634.

Ghabrash, M.F., Comai, S., Tabaka, J., Saint-Laurent, M., Booij, L.,Gobbi G. (2015). Valproate augmentation in a subgroup of patients with treatment-resistant unipolar depression. World J Biol Psychiatry, 2,165-170. 

Lévesque, M., Fahim, C., Ismaylova, E., Verner, MP., Casey, KF., Vitaro, F.,Brendgen, M., Dionne, G., Boivin, M., Tremblay, RE., Booij, L. (2015).The impact of the in utero and early postnatal environments on gray and white matter volume: A study with adolescent monozygotic twins. Developmental Neuroscience
37, 489-96

Booij, L., Tremblay, R.E., Szyf, M., Benkelfat, C. (2015). Genetic andearly environmental influences on the serotonin system: Consequences for brain development and risk for psychopathology. Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, 40, 5-18.

Booij, L., Casey, K.F., Mazanek-Antunes, J., Szyf, M., Israel, M.,Steiger, H. (2015). DNA methylation in individuals with Anorexia Nervosa and in matched normal-eater controls: A genome-wide study. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 48, 874-882. 

Provençal, N., Booij, L., Tremblay, RE. (2015). The developmentalorigins of chronic physical aggression: Biological pathways triggered by early life adversity. Journal of Experimental Biology, 1, 123-133. 

Booij, L., Szyf, M., Carballedo, A., Frey, M., Morris, D., Dimov, S.,Vaisheva, F., Ly, V., Fahey, C., Meaney, J., Gill, M., Frodl, T. (2015). DNAmethylation of the serotonin transporter gene in peripheral cells andstress-related changes in hippocampal volume: a study in depressed patients and healthy controls. PlosOne, 17;10, e0119061.

Frodl, T., Szyf, M., Carballedo, A., Ly, V., Dimov, S., Vaisheva, F., Morris,D., Fahey, C., Meaney, J., Gill, M., Booij, L. (2015). DNA Methylation of serotonin transporter gene (SLC6A4) associates with insular cortex function involved in awareness for emotional stimuli. Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, 40,140180.

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