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Analysis of Twin Data in Health Research

© Twin Course 2018

Welcome to the analysis of twin data!

The Institute of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics presents the course Analysis of Twin Data in Health Research with the aim: This course gives an introduction to the modern analysis in studies of twins.

The students will be able to apply basic methods and biometric models using statistical packages, especially the package "mets" and OpenMx in R. The students learn how to investigate genetic and environmental influences on phenotypes under various twin designs and assumptions. They also learn how twins can be used effectively in studying association controlling for various confounders, the matched design.

Findings and insights from studies with twins will be highlighted. Time is devoted for short presentations by the participants including discussion and feedback.

  • Special topics this year: Epigenetic studies using twins; Time to events in twins and more in program below.
  • Contributed talks: This gives the opportunity to give a 15 min informal presentation of your project or ideas with feedback.


  • Epidemiology, University of Helsinki, Finland  
    • Professor Jaakko Kaprio
    • Associate professor Karri Silventoinen 
  • Medical Epid and Biostat, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden
    • Assistant professor Juulia Jylhävä
  • Osaka University, Center for Twin Research 
    • Visiting researcher Shunsuke Toyoda
  • Biostat, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
    • Professor Thomas Scheike 
  • Epid and Biostat, University of Southern Denmark
    • Professor Kaare Christensen
    • Associate professor Jonas Mengel-From
    • Associate professor Ulrich Halekoh
    • Senior data analyst Axel Skytthe
    • Professor Jacob Hjelmborg (course leader) 

Place and time

Location: Faculty of Health Science, University of Southern Denmark, Winsløwparken. Link to Winsløwparken.

Time: 14.5.-17.5. 2018


Monday - Wednesday (time 9-16.30):  
Location 25.111, ground floor, J.B. Winsløvs Vej 25,
5000 Odense C.
Link to J.B. Winsløws Vej 25 - location 25.111

NB: Wednesday (time 15.00-16.30):
17.110, first floor, J.B. Winsløvs Vej 17a, 5000 Odense C. 
Link to J.B. Winsløws Vej 17a- location 17.110

Thursday (time 9-13.30):
Meeting room, 3rd floor, J.B. Winsløvs Vej 19, 5000 Odense C. 
Link to J.B. Winsløws Vej 9 - 'Meeting room'


Lectures: 9.15-16.30 (including coffee breaks and lunch)


Good luck with the course!

Note: Course material will appear from links below prior to course start.


Schedule Topic Persons Slides Material
14/5 Monday
9.15-12.00 A primer on twin analysis using R Jacob Hjelmborg
Ulrich Halekoh
Day 1 Primer

Day 1 Univariate
R - Software installation

Introduction to R Studio



13.00-14.00  The future of twin studies Jaakko Kaprio
The future of twin studies Martin 2017

Robinson 2017 
14.15-16.30  The Case-Cotwin Design Jacob Hjelmborg The Case-Cotwin Osaka



 17.00- Welcome reception with drinks and pizza
15/5 Tuesday
9.15-12.00 Categorical outcomes and time to event twin data Jacob Hjelmborg
Thomas Scheike
Analysis of Twin Data: Time to Event Models stut.R

13.00-15.00  Multiple outcomes in Twins Jacob Hjelmborg Multivariate Modeling: Analysis of Twin Data Kan 2016



15.15-16.30  Gene Environment Interaction Karri Silventoinen
Interplay between genes and environment

GE models.R 
16/5 Wednesday
9.15-10.00 Epigenetic concepts Jonas Mengel-From
Epigenetic concepts
10.15-12.00 Biomarkers for frailty and aging in Twin Studies. Juulia Jylhävä Epigenetics of aging and frailty in twin studies    
13.00-15.00 Applied twin research: Aging and longevity Kaare Christensen Twin Studies of Aging and Longevity  
15.30-16.30 Finding CpG sites for longevity  Jacob Hjelmborg    
17/5 Thursday
 9.15-9.30 The CODATwins project: Smoking behavior and BMI Maarit T Piirtola  
9.30-9.45 workshop presentation Karri Silventoinen
9.45-10.00  Genetic and environmental bi-factorial contributions on depression symptoms* Yusuke Takahashi   Abstract
10.15-10.30  Osaka University Twin Registry and current project  Shunsuke Toyoda
10.30-10.45 Peripheral blood epigenetic marks within twin pairs discordant for Alzheimer’s disease   Mikko Konki   Abstract
10.45-11.00  Workshop presentation   Emma Cazaly    
11.00-11.15 Twin registries Axel Skytthe Twin Registers  
11.15-11.30  Childhood social class as a moderator of late-life cognitive abilities  Malin Ericsson   Abstract
11.30-11.45  Generic and environmental influences on the diversity of leisure-time physical activity in adolescence* Sara Mäkelä    Abstract 
11.45-12.00 The Nordic Twin Cancer Study Jacob Hjelmborg NorTwinCan  
12.15-12.30   workshop presentation   TBA    
12.30-12.45  workshop presentation   TBA     
13.00-13.30 General discussion and final remarks All    

References and links

Nordic Twin Cancer Study


Software for analysis of twin data

For registration

EBB - Epidemiologi, Biostatistik og Biodemografi Institut for Sundhedstjenesteforskning Syddansk Universitet

  • J.B. Winsløws Vej 9
  • Odense C - DK-5000
  • Telefon: +45 6550 3029

Sidst opdateret: 15.04.2021