Dr. Linda Booij , PhD
Associate Professor, Psychology
Co-Director, Centre for Clinical Research in Health (CCRH)
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, impulsivity or 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.
- Brain development and Eating Disorders
- DNA methylation and eating disorders
- Social-cognition and emotional processing in eating disorders
- Impact of childhood trauma on histone deacetylases in adulthood.
- Gene-environment studies on brain and mental health, using twin designs
PhD (Leiden University, the Netherlands)
Mood, Anxiety and Personality Disorders (psyc440)
Biological basis and treatment of psychopathology (psyc724)
Selected recent publications
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. Jan 14. 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. In press. Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, 44(2):1-9. ** shared first-authorship
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. J Neuroendocrinology 2019 Feb 18:e12698. 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 to prefrontal-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 healthyadults. 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 in depression are related to functional alterations in hypothalamic-pituitaryadrenal axis 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 in treatment-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 in early 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 Mapping, 38, 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-year prospective 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 Post Traumatic 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 during early 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). Impact of early environment on children's mental health: Lessons from DNA methylation studies 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 grey 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 and early 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 developmental origins 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). DNA methylation of the serotonin transporter gene in peripheral cells and stress-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.
Lévesque, M.L., Casey, K.F., Szyf, M., Ly, V., Ismaylova, L., Verner, M-P., Suderman, M., Brendgen, M., Vitaro, F., Boivin, M., Tremblay, R.E., Booij, L. (2014). Genome-wide DNA methylation variability in adolescent monozygotic twins followed since birth. Epigenetics. 9, 1410-21.