Ann Swillen


Trained as educational psychologist at the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences at the University of Leuven, I joined the multidisciplinary team of the Center for Human Genetics at the University Hospital Gasthuisberg Leuven in 1990. Our group in Leuven is one of the pioneers in studying behavioural phenotypes in genetic syndromes such as Fragile X, NF1, Prader-Willi syndrome, Turner syndrome, 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11.2DS) and recently several new microdeletion- and -duplication syndromes (dupl22q11.2, del22q13.3, etc....).

In 2001, I defended successfully my PhD research on the behavioural phenotype in 22q11.2 deletion syndrome: from infancy to adolescence. As Professor of Educational Psychology, I have dedicated my research and clinical career to understand the neuromotor, cognitive-behavioural and psychosocial aspects and outcomes in children, adolescents and adults with 22q11.2DS, as well as, genetic and environmental influences.

Since 1994, I have contributed to the establishment of a multidisciplinary 22q11.2DS clinic in Leuven and to the Belgian 22q11.2DS parent association, leading to important ties within the lay community in Belgium and throughout the region. I have been actively involved for many years in the provision of coordinated multidisciplinary care for patients with 22q11.2DS and their families in Belgium and in Europe.

Editor's note: Professor Swillen received the Angelo DiGeorge Medal in 2016 and the Edelweiss Award in 2020.

Professor Swillen and the Edelweiss Award