TranSYS Training School 25th November 13.30

Prof. Cornelia van Duijn

Professor of Epidemiology, St Cross Chair

Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford

Wednesday 25th November 2020  13.30 CET

Study Design 2: Cohorts for Aging Research


The past decade has seen rapid changes in the availability of publicly accessible data sets that can be integrated. Without a doubt, these developments have fueled research. However, the validity of findings is fully determined by the initial design of a study. The potential pitfalls that are related to a study’s methodology should be considered at the start (design phase) and end of the study (analysis phase). In aging research, there are many opportunities for bias, including competing morbidity, differential morbidity and mortality, information bias and stratification of populations over time. Examples in aging research will be discussed along with the approaches to minimize the probability of false positive findings.

Key references:

  1. van der Lee SJ, Wolters FJ, Ikram MK, Hofman A, Ikram MA, Amin N, van Duijn CM. The effect of APOE and other common genetic variants on the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia: a community-based cohort study. Lancet Neurol 2018;17:434-44.
  2. Vojinovic D, Radjabzadeh D, Kurilshikov A, Amin N, Wijmenga C, Franke L, Ikram MA, Uitterlinden AG, Zhernakova A, Fu J, Kraaij R, van Duijn CM. Relationship between gut microbiota and circulating metabolites in population-based cohorts. Nat Commun. 2019 20;10:5813.
  3. Liu J, Lahousse L, Nivard MG, ….. van Duijn CM. Integration of epidemiologic, pharmacologic, genetic and gut microbiome data in a drug-metabolite atlas. Nat Med. 2020;26:110-117.


Cornelia van Duijn graduated in 1987 from the Agricultural University Wageningen and in 1992 she gained a PhD degree from the Erasmus University. For over 25 years, she was the head of Genetic  Epidemiology  at  the  Department  of  Epidemiology & Biostatistics  of  the  Erasmus  University  Medical Center. Since 2018, she is Professor of Epidemiology at Nuffield Department of Population Health (NDPH) and Fellow of St Cross College, Oxford. Cornelia is exploring new frontiers of etiologic and translational genetic-epidemiologic research with the mission to advance population health. Her research portfolio includes proteomic and metabolomic studies as key intermediate players linking the human genome, medication and life style to Alzheimer disease and related disorders. Her group aims to bridge the gap between genetic-epidemiologic and cellular model research. At present, she is the leader of two major consortia: the Horizon2020 CoSTREAM consortium aiming to understand the link between stroke and Alzheimer disease and the Dutch ZONMW MEMORABEL Gut-Brain consortium aiming to unravel the role of the gut microbiome in Alzheimer disease and brain pathology.