Albert Hofman, MD, PhD is a visiting professor of Clinical Epidemiology at the T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts (USA). He has been Editor-in-chief of the European Journal of Epidemiology since 2003. Dr. Hofman is also the chairman of the department of Epidemiology of the Erasmus Medical Center/Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands, since 1988. He has been science director of the graduate school Netherlands Institute for Health sciences (Nihes) since its start in 1990, until 2015.
Dr. Hofman is the initiator and principal investigator of two population based, prospective cohort studies in the city of Rotterdam, the Netherlands: the Rotterdam Study and the Generation R study. Data-collection for these studies started in 1990 and 2002, respectively. These cohort studies have in common that they target multiple common diseases, have a very extensive and state-of-the-art assessment of the putative determinants of these diseases, and employ as much as possible new technologies to be applied in the setting of epidemiologic population studies.
The study of a multiple outcomes, in particular neurological, cardiovascular and endocrine diseases, has enabled the investigation of the interrelations of those diseases, and thereby of the co-morbidity and co-etiology of various diseases with a large population burden. This has made the findings in these studies generally useful for public health purposes as well as for clinical medicine.
The new technologies for epidemiologic studies include the genome-wide assessment and large-scale imaging of whole cohorts. The Rotterdam Study was one of the five founding cohorts of the very productive CHARGE consortium which has performed many successful genome-wide association studies that found a large number of genes involved in common diseases. The Rotterdam Study also pioneered new population imaging modalities, including magnetic resonance imaging since 1995. More recently the Generation R study has an MRI facility and is conducting one of the first large-scale populations based brain-imaging studies in children.