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About us Medical Sciences Research Epidemiology
University Medical Center Groningen

Mission and organization

The misssion of the department of Epidemiology is to perform and support high-quality epidemiologic research, including research in medical statistics, health technology assessment, decision analysis and bioinformatics.

The ultimate aim of the department is to become a center of excellence for methodological aspects of clinical research within the UMCG and beyond.

Research is typically conducted in close collaboration with clinical departments of the UMCG. The overarching theme of the department is “Life course epidemiology of chronic diseases”, which extends the UMCG-wide research focus of “Healthy ageing”. Research is organised in four disease areas: Chronic pulmonary diseases, Cardiovascular diseases, Cancer and Digestive System Diseases. Within and between these areas the emphasis is on co-morbidity, defined as the presence of concomitant diseases from at least two areas in the same person.

The ultimate aim is to translate the results of our research into clinical practice, to provide guidance on individually tailored approaches for prevention and treatment. Combined with optimizing cost-effectiveness these efforts result in true Evidence Based Medicine. Epidemiology in Groningen is “translational research”: from population to individual.

Growth and development are central aspects of life course epidemiology. Longitudinal cohort studies and related methodological issues like repeated measurements, susceptibility, co-determinants are important topics of our research. The department performs data management and is scientifically involved in all major cohort studies of the UMCG:

- LifeLines (three-generations, biobank, ultimately n=165.000)

- String of Pearls (eight cohorts of patients from Dutch UMCs)

- GECKO birth cohort (metabolic programming, n=2000)

- TRAILS (adolescents, n=2000)

- Prevend (cardiovascular diseases, middle age, n=8000)

- Vlagtwedde/Vlaardingen (chronic pulmonary diseases, follow-up 25 years, n=8000)

Organization of the department

The board of the department is formed by the head of the department and the general manager, and is responsible for the day-to-day management.

The department has two sections:

- Research & Teaching (R&T), which includes the scientific staff. The senior staff members (associate and full professors) form the board meeting where all major issues of the department are discussed.

- Research Support (Research Data Support, RDS), which includes the research support staff, including among others project managers, data managers, and IT specialists.

Research & Teaching (R&T)

The section Research & Teaching consists of eight associate or full professors each of whom is responsible for a “unit” of scientific staff members. Details of the units can be found on the R&T pages. The clinically oriented units form the basis of the research in each disease area. Each staff member of the methodologically oriented units has a primary research interest in one of the four disease areas.

Research units of the Department of Epidemiology

Chronic airway diseases (Boezen)
Lifestyle medicine in obesity & diabetes (Corpeleijn)
Digestive system diseases (Alizadeh)
Oncological Epidemiology, Clinical Epidemiology (De Bock)
Genetic epidemiology and bioinformatics (Snieder)
Medical statistics and decision making
Patient Centered HTA (Krabbe)
Health behavior (Smidt)

Across the four disease areas expertise is available on different epidemiological methods, including medical statistics, genetic epidemiology, bioinformatics, medical technology assessment, clinical epidemiology, intervention studies, longitudinal population studies, medical decision analysis.

Last modified:13 August 2020 4.51 p.m.