Molecular Epidemiology of Chronic Disease and the Exposome

Organizing institution
Utrecht University - Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
Course code
Course fee (excl. housing)
€ 1000.00
Advanced Master
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This course introduces the concepts, principles, and use of molecular methods in epidemiologic research. We will focus on the use of molecular markers to study relationships with chronic disease and exposure to environmental risk factors (the Exposome). Main concepts that will be covered include: introduction into the molecular marker platforms, study design considerations, statistical methods, and examples of successful applications.

Topics that will be covered include: introduction into platforms (epigenetics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics), implementation of molecular markers in epidemiology, the role of molecular epidemiology in the analysis of the exposome, and practical examples of molecular epidemiological studies. In addition, the course will feature a specific module on the challenges of statistical analysis of molecular epidemiological studies consisting of lectures and practical work.

Course highlights:

Design of molecular epidemiology studies

• Introduction to molecular epidemiology

• Biomarkers: practical aspects

• Markers on the exposure disease continuum

From platform to application

• Epigenomics, Transcriptomics, Metabolomics,

Biostatistics (combining lectures with computer labs)

• Introduction to R and OMICS datasets

• Measurement error

• Multiple comparisons

• Dimension reduction methods & variable selection methods

• Bioinformatics and data integration

Examples of exciting applications of molecular epidemiology

• Big data approaches to identify environmental risk factors for disease

• Large scale genomics data to unravel ALS as "simplex" disease

• Microbiome research

Download the day-to-day programme (PDF)

Course director

Dr. Roel Vermeulen

Target audience

(PhD) students and (postdoctoral) researchers from epidemiology, biology, medicine, statistics, and related fields, non-academics interested in understanding molecular epidemiological studies.

Course aim

To provide students with an introduction into the concepts, principles, and use of molecular methods in epidemiologic research.

Study load

At least 12 lectures. Two days in total are devoted to computer practicals.


€ 1000.00
Housing € 200.00 , through Utrecht Summer School

More information

Jelle Vlaanderen, PhD

Division of Environmental Epidemiology

Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences (IRAS), Utrecht University

PO Box 80178, 3508 TD, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Tel +31 30 253 5947



Application deadline: 15 June 2018