Research areas

  • R Medicine (General) - Epidemiology


epidemiology, aging, dementia, depression, brain health

Research interests

My research focuses on risk factors and consequences of cerebrovascular disease and brain health in mid and late life, with the goal to identify those individuals at high risk during the earliest stages of the disease and find clues for preventive measures. Risk factors of interest include biological (including genetic), environmental, social, cognitive, and emotional determinants. Outcomes include stroke, late-life depression, cognitive decline and dementia.

I have around 25 years of experience in doing research on the epidemiology of cognitive aging, late-life depression, and dementia. I have ample experience in initiating, conducting, coordinating, supervising, and reporting of observational studies, within different settings (general population, primary care, hospital). In these studies I often combined epidemiological and neuroimaging techniques, i.e., structural brain MRI, including 7 tesla MRI. Such cohort studies from the UMC Utrecht that I am PI of are the SMART-MR study, the PREDICT-NL and PREDICT-MR studies, and the Medea 7T study.

I have a large national and international collaborative network among dementia researchers (e.g., Netherlands Consortium of Dementia Cohorts (NCDC), PSY-CA consortium, CHARGE consortium, MELODEM), and co-author and supervise studies in collaboration with international cohorts including the AGES-Reykjavik Study, WHICAP, and the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 Study.

I have supervised many BSc, MSc, and PhD students, and have been teaching, coordinating and examining epidemiology for many years. In 2016, I obtained the University teaching qualification, by board of the Faculty of Medicine, Utrecht University (BKO, Basis Kwalificatie Onderwijs).

From 2016-2022 I was member of the examiner board of the curriculum Medicine (Examencommissie Geneeskunde) (University Medical Center Utrecht). I serve(d) on committees, including the Alzheimer Nederland fellowship grant programme committee (2017-present); the Veni ZonMw programme committee (Chair 2014-2017); and the Institutional Review Board (METC) of the University Medical Center Utrecht (2007-2011).

Since May 2022, I am Head of Research of the department of General Practice at Amsterdam UMC. One of my goals is to strengthen the primary care perspective of dementia research within the research institutes Amsterdam Public Health (APH) and Amsterdam Neuroscience.

Research output

  1. Depression and Dementia: The Role of Cortisol and Vascular Brain Lesions. AGES-Reykjavik Study

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

  2. Dementia risk in the general population: large-scale external validation of prediction models in the AGES-Reykjavik study

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

  3. Smoking trajectories and risk of stroke until age of 50 years – the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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