Disease aetiology and prevention

Non-communicable diseases are largely caused by an unhealthy diet and lifestyle. We study the role of nutrition and lifestyle factors in the aetiology of cardiovascular diseases and cancer by means of epidemiological studies and randomized trials, underpinned with research on pathophysiological mechanisms.

This is done by means of observational epidemiological studies and randomized trials in individuals who are at (high) risk of disease, making use of advanced methods and data-analysis techniques. Genetic factors and biomarkers of health and disease are measured to elucidate underlying disease processes. Systematic reviews and meta-analyses of observational studies and trials are conducted to summarise existing scientific evidence. Findings from different levels of research are integrated and translated into guidelines and recommendations, whenever possible.

Nutrition and cardiovascular diseases

Our research on cardiovascular diseases mainly focuses on nutrition in relation to coronary heart disease and stroke. Research is done on cardiovascular disease endpoints and on blood pressure, serum lipids, kidney function and pathophysiological processes, such as endothelial dysfunction and inflammation. Cardiovascular diseases are primarily caused by an unhealthy diet and lifestyle. We study a wide range of dietary factors, including minerals, salt, fatty acids, protein, polyphenols, dairy products, plant foods, and dietary patterns.
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Nutrition and Cancer

Our research on cancer mainly focusses on nutrition and other lifestyle factors in relation to the development and progression of colorectal cancer and breast cancer. We study a wide range of dietary exposures, including B-vitamins, vitamin D, dietary supplements, body composition and dietary patterns. Endpoints that are studied are cancer incidence and cancer survival, but we also investigate underlying mechanisms, e.g. by evaluating diet-gene interactions, epigenetics, gene-expression, and inflammatory markers. Our studies are conducted in high-risk individuals, cancer patients and the general population.
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Current key projects