Nutritional and Molecular Epidemiology

Nutritional and Molecular Epidemiology

Programme leader(s)
P.C. Dagnelie

Mission statement of the programme
The programme of Nutritional and Molecular Epidemiology provides high quality multidisciplinary research aimed at improving the nutritional status, health and quality of life, by combined molecular studies using biomarkers with prevention- and care-oriented studies. Our work involves disease prevention, treatment and diagnostics.

Description of the programme
The programme of Nutritional and Molecular Epidemiology aims to achieve its mission:

  1. by unravelling the role of diet, lifestyle and molecular mechanisms in disease etiology and prognosis;
  2. by improving early detection & risk stratification using simple biomarkers & omics-based approaches;
  3. by assessing (cost-) effectiveness and implementation of nutritional prevention and care programmes.

All above approaches are aimed at identifying new targets for prevention and treatment, as well as at reducing morbidity, mortality and health care costs. The programme is strongly rooted in the traditions of epidemiology, nutrition, and molecular research, has specific expertise regarding nutritional and dietary assessment, and has strong collaborations with lab and clinical groups.

Both observational & experimental designs are applied.

  • Observational studies

We participate in a number of large prospective cohort studies such as the KOALA Birth Cohort Study, the LucKi Birth Cohort Study and the Maastricht Study. These prospective studies combine thorough assessment of environmental factors with detailed phenotyping, biobanking, and regular follow-up rounds for outcome assessment. We initiated the KOALA cohort study (n~2800) which includes questionnaire and anthropometric data as well as biological samples (blood, buccal swab, breast milk, faeces) to study the role of gene-environment interactions in the etiology of atopic disease, overweight and metabolic disorders.

  • Experimental studies

Experimental studies include (cost-)effectiveness and implementation studies of novel interventions, aiming at improving subjects’ health, recovery and long-term prognosis in integrated care (esp. rehabilitation, home).