Dr. Coenen's research entails
population-based gene-finding studies, construction of genetic
prediction models, and cost-effectiveness analysis of
pharmacogenetic tests. Her main goal is to develop a prediction
model to personalize treatment of patients with rheumatoid
arthritis (RA) treated with the biological anti-tumour necrosis
factor (anti-TNF). Using well-characterized RA patient cohorts, Dr.
Coenen's group identified a set of genes and proteins that could be
related to anti-TNF treatment outcome. As they have not identified
predictors that can be used in a clinical setting the group is
investigating which clinical outcome measures are most suitable to
perform genetic studies for treatment outcome in RA. Dr. Coenen
also applies her expertise in pharmacogenetics of autoimmune
disease to optimise treatment of childhood-cancer (osteosarcoma and
Concerning cost-effectiveness analysis, she leads a national randomized trial for cost-effectiveness of thiopurine-s-methyltransferase genotyping prior to thiopurine treatment for inflammatory bowel disease. This largest prospective study world-wide shows that pre-treatment genotyping results in a statistically significant reduction of leukopenia. Since 2 years, Dr. Coenen is involved in research related to the genetic background of pain sensitivity, chronification and treatment.
Dr. Coenen studied Medical Biology at the University of Utrecht, followed by a PhD at the department of Pediatrics of the Radboud University Medical Centre. After this she started a postdoc at the department of Human Genetics focusing on the development of genotyping methods for single nucleotide changes in the human genome. In 2006 she obtained a VENI grant on pharmacogenetics of anti-TNF treatment which allowed her to develop and establish a research line in pharmacogenetics.