PhD projects

Current PhD projects:

Epigenetic signatures of early-life events

MSc Weilong Li

The proposed project is the first large epigenomic study focusing on early life events and later life health. The project will be based on an existing collaboration network of Danish and Chinese scientists with expertise in studying complex diseases, genetic epidemiology, bioinformatics and public health.

Supervisors: Qihua Tan (EBB/SDU); Jan Baumbach (IMADA/SDU)

Epigenetic biomarkers as predictors of late-life mortality in the elderly

MSc Jesper Lund

The older section of the population increases at a steady pace especially in the western world including Denmark. Identifying risk factors that would allow improvements in population health and life expectancy is challenging issue in promoting healthy aging and longevity. 
A unique epigenomic data measured longitudinally on large Scottish old birth cohorts will be used for training and testing the models through collaboration in combination with a longitudinal Danish old birth cohort as an external validation.

Supervisors: Qihua Tan (EBB/SDU); Jan Baumbach (IMADA/SDU)

Female sex hormones and cognition in middle-aged and elderly Danish twins

MD Laura Ekstrøm Løkkegaard

Women have higher lifetime risk of developing AD than men. Additionally, women with AD tend to have lower cognitive function compared to men with AD. These sex differences raise the question of female sex hormones’ influence on cognition and risk of dementia. To study the association between female sex hormones and cognition in mid- and late life in Danish twins.

Supervisors: Kaare Christensen and  Jesper Hallas (SDU); Merete Osler (Copenhagen University)

Multivariate genome-wide association analysis of complex disease phenotypes

MSc Afsaneh Mohammadnejad

Current genetic association studies on complex phenotypes, e.g. cognitive function, metabolic syndrome, are based on association with each individual domain (test) separately or with a total score which is a simple sum up of all test scores on different domains. Multivariate association analysis that takes into account pleiotropic genetic effects jointly on the different domains with increased statistical power is actually missing.

Supervisors: Qihua Tan (EBB/SDU), Jan Baumbach (IMADA/SDU), and Tanja Maria Sheldrick-Michel (Dept. of Psychiatry/SDU)

Development and Sex-Disparity in Health Adjusted Life Expectancy in the European Population

MPH Camilla Riis Nielsen

Population ageing, the result of lower fertility rates and increasing life expectancy, is a global phenomenon and considered to be one of the greatest challenges of this century.
The aim of the project is to estimate the development in health adjusted life expectancy in the European Population using data collected from several European countries over 11 years (2004-2015) in SHARE (Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe).

Supervisors: Rune Lindahl-Jacobsen, Kaare Christensen, Bernard Jeune, and Linda Juel Ahrenfeldt (EBB/SDU)

Cross-Cancer Relationships and Risk Factors of Hematologic Malignancies - a Twin Study

MSc Signe Bedsted Clemmensen

The aim of the project is to characterize hematologic malignancies in terms of genetic, environmental, and cross-cancer risk relationships varying in time using the population based Nordic twin cohort. To identify possible epigenetic markers of hematologic malignancies in a matched case co-twin study using epigenetic data from Danish twins. And to initiate a matched case co-twin study of risk of “ink-related cancers” using questionnaire exposure data.

Supervisors: Jacon v.B. Hjelmborg and Jonas Mengel-From (EBB/SDU); and Henrik Frederiksen, Odense University Hospital.

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Recent PhD projects (defended after 2001):

Anthony Medford, MSc; Max-Planck Odense Center, SDU. SDU
Maximum Life expectancy and lifespans: Insights from Extreme Value Theory
Supervisors: James W Vaupel, CPop/SDU, Kaare Christensen og Axel Skytthe, EBB/SDU.
Defence: November 22, 2019

Kristine Harrsen Bachkati, MSc; DARC, Copenhagen University.
How does education and cognitive function in midlife affect health outcomes later in life?
Supervisors: Kaare Christensen (EBB/SDU); Erik Lykke Mortensen (Copenhagen University)
Defended: June 13, 2019.

Sofie Hindkjaer Lautrup, MSc, DARC, Aarhus University.
Identification and characterization of genetic markers important for cognitive function
Supervisors: Associate professor Tinna Stevnsner, AU and Professor Kaare Christensen, SDU.
Defended: September 18, 2018.

Unni Dokkedal, MPH, DARC, SDU.
Change in cognitive function in late life after exposure to anesthesia and surgery
Supervisors: Professor Kaare Christensen; Assistant Professor Jonas Mengel-From, SDU; Professor Lars Rasmussen, Rigshospitalet; Consultant Tom G Hansen, OUH.
Defended: April 26, 2018.

Silvia Rizzi, MSc; Max-Planck Odense Center, SDU.
Coarse count data in the epidemiological context: Application of the penalized composite link model for estimating detailed age-specific distributions
Supervisors: Associate professor Rune Lindahl-Jacobsen; Professor James W. Vaupel; Postdoc Mikael Thinggaard, Max-Planck Odense Center, SDU.
Defended: March 1st, 2018.

Signe Høi Rasmussen, MD; DARC, SDU.
The 1915 Birth Cohort Study - Health Profiles of 100 Year Old Danes Including Cardiovascular Assessment
Supervisors: Professor Karen Andersen-Ranberg; Professor Kaare Christensen, EBB, SDU; Consultant Sabine Gill, OUH.
Defended: February 23rd, 2018.

Dorthe Almind Pedersen, MSc; Epidemiology, SDU.
Psychosocial characteristics in families with oral cleft
Supervisors: Associate Professor George Wehby; Professor Jeff Murray, The University of Iowa; Professor Kaare Christensen, SDU.
Defended: September 28th, 2017.

Marie-Pier Bergeron Boucher, MSc; Max-Planck Odense Center, SDU.
Mortality forecasts: Exploring new alternatives
Supervisors: Associate professor Vladimir Canudas-Romo; Professor James W Vaupel, Max-Planck Odense Center, SDU.
Defended: February 20th, 2017.

Jakob Krabbe Pedersen, MSc; SDU.
Familial clustering of longevity: Underlying mechanisms
Supervisors: Professor Kaare Christensen; Postdoc Inge Pedersen, SDU.
Defended: December 8th, 2016.

Bjarki Ditlev Djurhuus, MD; SDU/OUH.
Cholesteatoma – Occurrence and risk factors
Supervisors: Professor Christian Emil Faber; Professor Kaare Christensen; Associate Professor Axel Skytthe, SDU. 
Defended: May 25, 2016.

Gunhild Tidemann Christensen, MPH; DARC, SDU.
The association between cognitive function early in life and later mortality 
Supervisors: Professor Merete Osler, Professor Erik Lykke Mortensen, Professor Kirsten Avlund, University of Copenhagen, and Professor Kaare Christensen University of Southern Denmark.
Defended: March 4, 2016. 

Linda Juel Ahrenfeldt, MPH; Epidemiology, SDU.
Opposite-sex twins vs same-sex twins: mortality, cancer and behaviour
Supervisor: Professor Kaare Christensen, SDU. 
Defended: February 8, 2016.

Mikael Thinggaard, MSc; DARC, SDU.
Exceptional longevity – Predictors and methods for handling missing data.
Supervisors: Professor Merete Osler, Copenhagen University, Professor Kaare Christensen SDU.
Defended: October 29, 2015.

Andreas Kryger Jensen, MSc; EBB, SDU.
Development of statistical methods for analyzing serum proteome data with applications in early detection of breast and ovarian cancer and as prognostic tools.
Supervisors: Jacob Hjelmborg, Torben Martinussen, Jonna Skov Madsen, Anne Kjærgaard Øgendahl og Ole Mogensen.
Defended: February 27, 2015.

Marianne Nygaard, MSc; EBB, SDU.
Genetic determinants of healthy ageing
Supervisor: Professor Lene Christiansen, Professor Qihua Tan, and Professor Kaare Christensen SDU.
Defended: July 8, 2014.

Grete Skøtt Pedersen, MScPH; Epidemiology, SDU.
Reproductive- and child health among immigrants in Denmark
Supervisor: Professor Kaare Christensen SDU and Anne-Marie Nybo Andersen KU.
Defended: December 19, 2013.

Christian H. Garm, MSc; DARC, Aarhus University.
Investigating the correlation between DNA repair efficiency and healthy human aging and characterizing the regulation of the DNA repair activities of RecQ helicases 
Advisors: Associate Professor Tinna Stevnsner, Aarhus University and Professor Kaare Christensen, SDU.
Defended: December 9, 2013.

Mette Sørensen, MSc; DARC, SDU.
Genetic and molecular determinants of human ageing and longevity. 
Advisors: Associate Professor Lene Christiansen & Professor Kaare Christensen SDU, and Associate Professor Tinna Stevnsner & Professor Vilhelm A Bohr, AU.
Defended: March 29, 2012.

Mia Madsen, MPH; DARC, SDU.
Causation and selection in the association between adult socioeconomic position and health and survival. A twin approach.
Advisors: Professor Kaare Christensen SDU, professor Merete Osler KU, and professor Anne-Marie Nybo Andersen KU.
Defended: November 24, 2011.

Inge Petersen, MSc; Epidemiology, SDU.
Twins and singletons in Denmark in the 20th century: Fertility and morbidity.
Advisors: Professor Paul Bingley SFI and professor Kaare Christensen SDU.
Defended: May 24, 2011.

Dorthe GrosenMD; Epidemiology, SDU.
Oral Cleft Occurence and Familial Aggregation among Danish Twins and Singletons. 70 Years of Follow-up.
Advisor: Professor Kaare Christensen.
Defended: November 29, 2010.

Anna Oksuzyan, MD MPH; Epidemiology, SDU & Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
Sex differences in health and mortality - a multiwave survey and register study.
Advisor: Professor Kaare Christensen.
Defended: June 11, 2010.

Henriette Engberg, MPH; Epidemiology, SDU.
Determinants of extreme survival and changes over time in function and health among centenarians.
Advisor: Professor Kaare Christensen.
Defended: November 24, 2009.

Jan Nielsen, MSc.
Composite likelihood methods in analysis of twin data.
Supervisors: Jacob v. B. Hjelmborg, Kirsten Ohm Kyvik, Jan Hartvigsen.
Defended: October 23, 2009.

Marianne Vámosi, MSc; Epidemiology, SDU.
Psychological Determinants of Obesity.
Principal supervisor: Professor Kirsten Ohm Kyvik.
Defended: September 15, 2008.

Sonja Wehberg, MSc.
Numbers on Words. Analysis of Danish Longitudinal CDI study.
Supervisors: Dorthe Bleses and Werner Vach.
Defended: March 17, 2008.

Helle Rexbye, MA; Epidemiology, SDU. 
Visual signs of aging - between genetics and culture. 
Principal supervisor: Professor Kaare Christensen.
Defended December 7, 2007.

Maria Iachina, MS; Epidemiology, SDU. 
The influence of death of spouse on depression symptomatology, a longitudinal study of elderly Danish twins. 
Principal supervisor: Professor Kaare Christensen.
Defended February 8, 2007.

René Fejer, chiropractor; Epidemiology, SDU.
Neck pain: prevalence, genetic and environmental factors.
Principal supervisor: Professor Kirsten Ohm Kyvik.
Defended September 21, 2006.

Camilla Bille, MD; Epidemiology, SDU. 
Oral clefts - occurrence and risk factors. 
Principal supervisor: Professor Kaare Christensen.
Defended November 23, 2005.

Annette Erlangsen, MD; DPH, SDU/Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research.
Disparities in Suicide among the old and oldest old in Denmark. 
Principal supervisor: Associate professor Bernard Jeune.
Defended March 8, 2004.

Marianne Juel Kjeldsen, MD; Epidemiology, SDU.
Epilepsy and Febrile Seizures in Twins: Genetic and Environmental Etiocogical Factors. 
Principal supervisor: Professor Kaare Christensen.
Defended November 17, 2003.

Karoline Schousboe, MD; Epidemiology, SDU.
Body Composition and Glucose Homeostasis: Genes and environment.
Principal supervisor: Professor Kirsten Ohm Kyvik.
Defended April, 2003.

Henrik Frederiksen, MD; Epidemiology, SDU.
Physical activity and health in elderly twins: an intervention study and 33-year historic follow-up study. 
Principal supervisor: Professor Kaare Christensen.
Defended March 12, 2003.

Søren Bak, MD; Epidemiology, SDU.
Environmental exposures and genetic factors in stroke. 
Principal supervisor: Professor Kaare Christensen.
Defended February 28, 2003.

Qihua Tan, MD; Epidemiology, SDU/Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
Biodemographic methods for analyzing genetic factors that influence longevity.
Principal supervisor: Professor Kaare Christensen.
Defended November 23, 2001.

Axel Skytthe, MSc; Epidemiology, SDU.
Establishment of a twin cohort with a view to study the genetic determination of early death.
Principal supervisor: Professor Kaare Christensen.
Defended June 13, 2001.

Zhenglian Wang, engineer; Epidemiology, SDU.
Age validation, demographic characteristics and functional status among Chinese Centenarians.
Principal supervisor: Associate professor Bernard Jeune.
Defended May 7, 2001. 


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For PhD students at the SDU Health Faculty