Eco de Geus is head of the department of Biological Psychology and co-director of the Netherlands Twin Registry at the VU University where he is an active researcher in the field of genetic epidemiology of mental health and cardiovascular disease risk factors. 

The leitmotiv of de Geus’ research is the psychophysiological study of individual differences in behaviour and health. Controlled experiments and genetic epidemiological strategies are used to test contribution of genes, stress and regular exercise to cardiovascular health and mental health. Mental health is studied by a variety of survey measures and diagnostic interviews (e.g. CIDI). Cardiovascular health is studied in the laboratory by recording cardiovascular, hormonal and metabolic responses to standardized conditions, and in “real life” by using ambulatory measurements of blood pressure, cortisol, and the autonomic nervous system with the VU University Ambulatory Monitoring System (VU-AMS, www.vu-ams.nl). This is a system de Geus developed for 24-hour recordings of peripheral physiology. It is currently used world-wide by over 50 research groups to study stress and emotion in naturalistic settings. In the study of mental and cardiovascular health a genetic perspective is introduced by means of longitudinal twin family designs and molecular genetic approaches, including whole-genome association studies using SNPs and epigenetic markers.  The use of genetically informative prospective studies to unravel causal effects in complex biobehavioral associations is a focus of his recent research.