As our population ages, the prevalence of age-related diseases increases. Calendar and biological age are the most important risk factors for major age-related diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia. In the coming decades, the increasing number of older people will challenge our healthcare system due to the increased healthcare consumption related to ageing. More importantly, for older people ageing and its associated diseases contribute to loss of functional capacity, both physical and mental, and loss of quality of life.
Vision and mission
The mission of the LUMC theme Lifecourse Epidemiology and Geroscience is to leverage education and the scientific knowledge base on ageing to develop and implement innovative solutions to promote a longer and healthier lifecourse and a better quality of life for our patients and the ageing society. To reach our aims, we will combine our scientific expertise in the fields of Lifecourse Epidemiology and Geroscience.
Increase the healthy life span
Lifecourse epidemiology studies the role of long-term physical, psychological or socio-behavioural capacities and also exposures that act during development and early adult life on later-life health and disease. Geroscience is an interdisciplinary field that seeks to define the biological mechanisms of ageing that give rise to a spectrum of age-related phenotypes, diseases and disorders.
Together, Lifecourse Epidemiology and Geroscience leverage the understanding of the biology of age-related changes that occur during life to improve prevention and treatment strategies to increase the healthy life span of older individuals and to contribute to our ageing society.
“Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.” - Betty Friedan (1921-2006)
The board of the Theme consists of the following people:
Eline Slagboom, Professor of Molecular Epidemiology and Theme Chair
Eline Slagboom is a biologist by training, head of Molecular Epidemiology and chair of the Dutch Society for Research on Ageing (DuSRA). She is dedicated to molecular-based research into human ageing and protection mechanisms against age-related diseases for over 25 years. She focusses on three interconnected topics: genetic and genomic studies into the aetiology of ageing and its heterogeneity, biomarker studies to predict vulnerability in older age, and intervention studies (lifestyle, clinical) for those at risk.
Simon Mooijaart, Internist-geriatrician and Theme Co-chair
Simon Mooijaart is an internist-geriatrician and chair of the sub-department of Gerontology and Geriatrics. Being a physician, his research focuses on developing and delivering evidence-based and appropriate care to older patients with various diseases, resulting in improved outcomes for older patients. He has initiated and leads several clinical studies and consortia in older patients with cancer, renal disease, thyroid dysfunction, COVID-19 and in the Emergency Department.
Jeroen de Bresser, Neuroradiologist, Young Faculty Member and Theme Co-chair
Jeroen de Bresser is a neuroradiologist and head of the section Neuroradiology and Head and Neck Radiology. His research focus is on the development and application of quantitative/ultra-high field (7T) brain MRI markers and the use of artificial intelligence models for early prediction of occurrence of diseases, such as dementia or stroke. He is involved in and leads multiple national and international studies and consortia on brain imaging in cerebral small vessel disease, dementia, neuro-oncology and NPSLE. He is also involved in developing new Dutch medical guidelines in the steering committee of the cluster cognitive disorders and dementia.
The theme Lifecourse Epidemiology and Geroscience is divided into five subthemes, which harbour nuclei of LUMC research contributing to the theme. In the subtheme ‘Treating the older patients; ageing with disease’, we integrate research to improve (cost-)effective care for older patients applying Geroscientific knowledge on ageing and disease. The subtheme ‘Supporting the health of the older individual: ageing in the general population’, uses integrated research and education to improve health, independence and well-being for the older population. The subtheme ‘Etiology of ageing and the lifecourse element in disease risk’ applies Geroscience mechanistic studies into the pathophysiology of age-changes and age-related (co)morbidity. The subtheme ‘Multi-dimensional biomarker development and implementation of Artificial Intelligence for vulnerability studies covering the life course, the ageing population and older patients’ aims to generate predictive and prognostic marker algorithms for risk assessment and monitoring response of treatment and interventions. In the subtheme ‘Education in Lifecourse epidemiology and Geroscience’ at the Leiden Age Campus, we offer education to the public, professionas and PhD students. The Leiden Age Campus includes the Theme’s Graduate school, the Master of Vitality and Ageing and various residency programs wherestudent can learn about state of the art knowledge and science in Lifecourse and Geroscience. The Campus attracts and fosters talents for our research program.