Danielle Posthuma wins prestigious 2021 Mensa Foundation prize

10 August 2021

Prof. dr. Danielle Posthuma has been awarded the 2021 Mensa Foundation Prize for her research directly identifying, for the first time, hundreds of human genes highly correlated to variations in intelligence.

As head of the department of Complex Trait Genetics at VU and Amsterdam UMC, Posthuma leads a group of 30 researchers from diverse fields, including statistics, stem cell biology, and bioinformatics.

She has led two large-scale genetic discovery studies into intelligence. The first, whose results were published in 2017, led to the discovery of 52 genes linked to intelligence. A year later, in an even larger study of more than 200,000 people, Posthuma was able to identify another 939 genes associated with intelligence.

She is the lead author on innovative statistical tools such as MAGMA (for gene-set analyses) and FUMA (for post-genome-wide association studies annotation), which she has also used on large-scale studies for Alzheimer’s disease, insomnia, and neuroticism.

About the prize
The Mensa Foundation Prize is awarded biennially, since 2017, for the best scientific discovery in the field of intelligence or creativity. The award includes a $10,000 prize, personal plaque and medal.

Read the interview the Mensa Foundation held with Posthuma for this occasion.