Department of Psychology

Department of


Department of


site header

Linda Booij

Photo of Linda Booij

Assistant Professor

Master’s, Leiden University, 2000
Master’s, Leiden University, 2001
Ph.D., Leiden University, 2005

T: 613.533.6000 ext. 78158

Psychology Department
Queen's University
Kingston, ON K7L 3N6

Research Interests

Adverse events can occur and affect the brain at various stages, from gestation until adulthood. Such adverse events can affect the brain in many ways, including alterations in neurotransmission, brain structure, endocrinology, among others, 
all of which may interact. Given the important role of serotonin in brain development, alterations in the serotonin system as a result of early adverse events may be particularly relevant. My research program examines how early adversity, in combination with genetic factors, could affect the serotonin system in humans. The overarching hypothesis of my research program is that an early disruption in serotonin homeostasis could lower the vulnerability threshold in brain circuits involved in emotion regulation, thereby predisposing the individual to psychopathology when exposed to stressful events.

In my studies I use a combination of brain imaging, genetic, epigenetic (i.e. DNA methylation) and emotional-cognitive assessments. For instance, in ongoing projects, I investigate in prospectively followed community samples how early stressors could alter the expression of serotonin genes through epigenetic processes and impact the neural regulation of emotions. I am extending this line of research to clinical populations, in particular to individuals with mood disorders and to individuals with aggression problems.

Selected Publications

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, in press.

Booij, L., Tremblay, R.E., Szyf, M., Benkelfat, C. (2014) Genetic and early environmental influences on the serotonin system: Consequences for brain development and risk for psychopathology. Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, in press.

Booij, L., Soucy, J-P, Young, S.N., Regoli, M., Gravel, G., Diksic, M., Leyton, M., Pihl, R.O., Benkelfat, C. (2014). Brain serotonin synthesis in MDMA (ecstasy) polydrug users: an α-[11C]-methyl- L-tryptophan study. Journal of Neurochemistry, Jul 18. doi: 10.1111/jnc.12826. [Epub ahead of print]

Nunes, M.L, Khan, R.L., Filho, I.G., Booij, L., da Costa, J.C. (2014) Maturational changes of neonatal electroencephalogram: A comparison between intrauterine and extra uterine development. Clinical Neurophysiology, 125:1121-8.

Lataster, J., Collip, D., Hernaus, D., Ceccarini, J., Haas, D., Booij, L., Van Os, J., Pruessner, J., Van Laere, K., Myin-Germeys, I. (2014). Familial liability to psychosis is associated with aberrant dopamine stress signaling in ventromedial prefrontal cortex. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 40(1), 66-77.

Booij, L., Wang, D., Lévesque, M.L.,Tremblay, R.E, Szyf, M. (2013). Looking beyond the DNA sequence: The relevance of DNA methylation processes for the stress-diathesis model of depression. Phil Transactions of the Royal Society B. Feb 25;368(1615):20120251.

Pingault, J.B., Côté, S.M., Booij, L., Ouellet-Morin, I., Castellanos-Ryan, N., Vitaro, F., Turecki, G., Tremblay, R.E. (2013). Age-dependent effect of the MAOA gene on childhood physical aggression. Molecular Psychiatry, 18(11), 1151-1152.

Kruijt, A., Antypa, N., Booij, L., de Jonge, P., Glashouwer, K., Penninx, B.M.J., Van der Does, A.J.W.(2013). Cognitive reactivity, implicit associations, and the incidence of depression: a two-year prospective study. Plos One, 8(7):e70245.

Hernaus, D., Collip, D., Lataster, J., Ceccarini, J., Kenis, G., Booij. L., Pruessner, J., Van Laere, K., van Winkel, R., van Os, J., Myin-Germeys. I. (2013) COMT Val(158)Met genotype selectively alters prefrontal [(18)F]Fallypride displacement and subjective feelings of stress in response to a psychosocial stress challenge. PLoS One. 2013 Jun 14;8(6):e65662.

Nagano-Saito, A., Dagher, A., Booij, L., Gravel, P., Welfeld, K., Casey, K., Leyton, M., Benkelfat, C (2013). Stress-induced dopamine release in human medial prefrontal cortex: an 18F-Fallypride / PET study in healthy volunteers. Synapse, 2013, 67(12), 821-830.

Hemb, M., Palmini, A., Paglioli, E., Beck Paglioli, E., Costa da Costa, J., Azambuja, N., Portuguez, M., Viuniski, V., Booij, L., Nunes, M.L. (2013). Epilepsy surgery for hippocampal sclerosis: an 18 year longitudinal study on future seizure risk. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, 84(7), 800-805.

Santos, K., Palmini, A., Radziuk, A.L., Rotert, R., Bastos, F., Booij, L., Fernandes, B.S. (2013). The impact of methylphenidate on seizure frequency and severity in children with ADHD and difficult-to-treat epilepsies. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 55(7), 654-660.

Wang, D., Szyf, M., Benkelfat, C., Provençal, N., Turecki, G., Caramaschi, D., Côté, S.M., Vitaro, F., Tremblay, R.E, Booij, L. (2012). Peripheral SLC6A4 DNA methylation is associated with in vivo measures of human brain serotonin synthesis and childhood physical aggression. PlosOne, 7(6): e39501.

Booij, L., Turecki, G., Leyton, M., Gravel, P., Lopez De Lara, C., Diksic, M. & Benkelfat, C. (2012). Polymorphic variants in the TPH2 gene predict brain serotonin synthesis in humans. Molecular Psychiatry, 17, 809-817.

Booij, L., Benkelfat, C., Leyton, M., Vitaro, F., Gravel, P., Levesque, M.L., Arseneault, L., Diksic, M., Tremblay, R.E. (2012). Perinatal effects on in vivo measures of brain serotonin synthesis in adulthood: a 27 year longitudinal study, European Neuropsychopharmacology,22, 419-423.

Lévesque M.L., Beauregard M., Fortier E., Tremblay R.E., Brendgen M., Pérusse D., Dionne G., Robaey P., Vitaro F., Boivin M., Booij L. (2011). Altered patterns of fronto-limbic activation in children with familial risk of depression. Journal of Affective disorders, 135, 410-413.

Lataster, J. Collip, D. Ceccarini, J., Haas, D., Booij, L., Van Os, J., Pruessner, J., Van Laere, K., Myin-Germeys, I.(2011) Psychosocial stress is associated with in vivo dopamine release in human ventromedial prefrontal cortex: A positron emission tomography study using [(18)F]fallypride. Neuroimage, 58(4):1081-9.

Booij, L., Van der Does, A.J.W (2010). Emotional processing as a predictor of symptom change: an acute tryptophan depletion study in depressed patients. European Neuropsychopharmacology, 21, 379-383.

Booij, L., Tremblay, R.E., Leyton, M., Seguin, J.R., Vitaro, F., Gravel, P., Perreau-Linck, E., Levesque, M., Durand, F., Diksic, M., Turecki, G., & Benkelfat, C (2010). Brain serotonin synthesis in adult males characterized by physical aggression in childhood: A 21 year longitudinal study. PLoS One, 5(6):e11255.