Epidemiology for Toxicologists

Aim of the course

The aim of this course is to learn the basic terms and principles of epidemiology and to understand how epidemiology and toxicology interact to inform human health risk assessments.

The course consists of interactive lectures in which the basic principles of epidemiology will be taught. Specific topics within the field of epidemiology are discussed, including epidemiological study designs, interpretation of study results, sources of bias, and how epidemiological evidence contributes to risk assessment. There will be tutorial sessions in which epidemiological papers are evaluated, epidemiological skills are practiced, and participants receive instructions and feedback on developing a research proposal for an epidemiological study.

After successful completion of the course the participant:

    • understands the basic terms in epidemiological research and is able to differentiate between various study designs and recognize their weaknesses and strengths;
    • is familiar with the main measures of frequency and association, and the principles and criteria of causality;
    • is able to define, explain and recognize the main sources of bias, and explain the difference between confounders and effect modifiers in epidemiological studies;
    • is able to distinguish internal validity from external validity, and random errors from systematic errors in epidemiological studies;
    • understands how epidemiology can contribute to human health risk assessment;
    • is able to design an epidemiological study with a clear research question and an appropriate study design.

Coordinator: Prof.dr. M.B.M. van Duursen, Dr. V.C. Lenters

Dr. Michiel de Boer, University Medical Center Groningen
Dr. ir. Ron Hoogenboom, Wageningen University and EFSA
Dr. Gijs Klous, RIVM Bilthoven
Dr. Lothar Kuijper, VU Amsterdam
Dr. Virissa Lenters, VU Amsterdam
Dr. Esther Molenaar, VU Amsterdam
Dr. Sylvia Notenboom, RIVM Bilthoven
Prof. dr. Raymond Ostelo, Amsterdam UMC
Dr. Annemieke Spijkerman, RIVM Bilthoven
Dr. Eva Sugeng, VU Amsterdam


During this course, participants will write an individual research proposal for an epidemiological study focusing on an external factor, such as a chemical of emerging concern. The proposal needs to be submitted to the course coordinator by the deadline (i.e., end-of-day one working day after the course ends). To pass the course, participants need to attend all lectures and tutorial sessions and pass the individual written research proposal assignment.

individual written research proposal assignment.

Please note that the course can be cancelled up to one month before its starting date, when the number of applications is below the minimum required. For general inquiries please contact the PET Office.

Food Toxicology
Ecotoxicology - part II