Max-Planck Odense Center

Max-Planck Odense Center on the Biodemography of Aging (MaxO) is an interdisciplinary and international collaboration between researchers drawn from demography, epidemiology, medicine, biology, mathematics and statistics. The center conducts innovative research to discover the basic causes and key consequences of the age trajectories of survival, including also their policy implications.

Scientists working on biodemography typically focus on either biology or human health. At the Max-Planck Odense Center on the Biodemography of Aging we integrate both biological and health aspects of human longevity and aging to create insights that neither of the two aspects could provide alone.
The center bridges research in biological demography (Biology department) with epidemography at the health sciences (Department for Epidemiology Biostatictics and Biodemography) using a solid foundation of mathematical and computational methods (Department of Mathematics and Computer Science). Data sources on human and nonhuman patterns of birth and death provide the basis for comparative analysis within and across species.

Read about the exciting research in the research clusters.
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News from MaxO:


6 March 2017
Our paper "The emergence of longevous populations" was awarded with the PNAS Cozzarelli Prize.

23 February 2017
Johan Dahlgren was invited to the “Eliteforsk” conference in Copenhagen, where he received a diploma from the Danish research minister, for achieving the a “Sapere Aude” grant from the Danish Council of Independent Research. Please see the photo here.

17 February 2017
Our paper  "Visualizing compositional data on the Lexis surface" by Schöley, Jonas, and Frans Willekens, was published in Demographic Research 36 (2017): 627-658.

February 2017
Iain Stott has been awarded €200,194.80 by the European Commission for the Marie Słodowska-Curie Actions Standard Fellowship WHYAGE, to be conducted at MaxO, SDU in collaboration with the University of Zurich. The WHYAGE project will use global demographic datasets developed by MaxO and other institutions, alongside novel theoretical models, to explore feedbacks between age-patterns of survival and fecundity, and population dynamics.

February 2017
Our article “Mexico's epidemic of violence and its public health significance on average length of life” by  Vladimir Canudas-Romo, José Manuel Aburto, Victor Manuel García-Guerrero, Hiram Beltrán-Sánchez (was editor’s choice in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health in its February issue (

January 2017
New project:  Efficient survey and response to invasive species using drones.  This is a joint project of Johan Dahlgren (MaxO), Owen Jones (MaxO) and Henrik Skov Midtiby at the UAS Center, SDU Faculty of Engineering. It is funded by the University of Southern Denmark, as part of an initiative to fund outreach projects using drones. We will use “unmanned aerial vehicles”, UAVs, to monitor populations of problem species of plants.

4 January 2017
Our paper  "Better the devil you know: common terns stay with a familiar partner although pair duration does not affect breeding output" by Rebke, M., P.H. Becker and F. Colchero (2017) was published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B 284:2016.1424

We developed a Bayesian hierarchical model to analize the survival, breeding success and partner choice in a colony of common terns. We tested whether individuals choose a partner based on their previous breeding success or based on their familiarity. We found that partner choice was determined by the number of breeding times the pair had mated, and not based on previous breeding success.

December 2016
Our report for our activities 2013-2016 is now available. Please click here.

December 2016
We are happy to announce that EDSD - European Doctoral School of Demography will be in MaxO and SDU in 2017-2019.
Please read more here.

 November 2016
Our paper "The emergence of longevous populations" by Colchero, F., R. Rau, O.R. Jones, J. Barthold, D.A. Conde, A. Lenart, L. Nemeth, A. Scheuerlein, J. Schoeley, C. Torres, V. Zarulli, J. Altmann, D.K. Brockman, A.M. Bronikowski, L.M. Fedigan, A. Pusey, T.S. Stoinski, K.B. Strier, A. Baudisch, S.C. Alberts and J.W. Vaupel (2016) was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 113(48) E7681–E7690. 
Public interest in social and economic equality is burgeoning. We examine a related phenomenon, lifespan equality, using data from charismatic primate populations and diverse human populations. We found that lifespan equality rises in lockstep with life expectancy, across primate species separated by millions of years of evolution and over hundreds of years of human social progress. Furthermore, we show that, in these measures, industrial humans differ more from nonindustrial humans than nonindustrial humans do from other primates. Finally, in spite of the astonishing progress humans have made in lengthening the lifespan, a male disadvantage in lifespan measures has remained substantial—a result that will resonate with enduring public interest in male–female differences in many facets of life.
Awarded the 2016 Cozzarelli Prize for Behavioral and Social Sciences.


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