Veerle Coupé (Chair)
Veerle Coupé is astronomer by training with a MSc degree in Clinical Epidemiology and a PhD degree in Medical Decision Sciences. Her research concerns mathematical modeling of the development and progression of cancer, in order to predict clinical and economic outcomes of prevention, diagnostics, and treatment. She built micro-simulation models for the evaluation of screening for colorectal cancer and cervical cancer and for the evaluation of treatments in melanoma and lung cancer. She currently supervises PhD students who are modelling diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer, melanoma and colorectal cancer. Furthermore, Veerle Coupé teaches in the area of statistical methodology, mathematical modeling and cost-effectiveness.
Hans Berkhof (Co-chair)
Hans Berkhof is chair of the department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the VU University Medical Center and is a researcher in the field of disease modeling and statistics. His research focuses on the development of mathematical decision models and integration of evidence from multiple sources. He has developed HPV disease and transmission models and has advised national health decision makers on HPV screening and vaccination issues. He also teaches in the area of modeling, screening and prevention.
Thomas Klausch is a post-doctoral researcher in biostatistics specializing in the fields of predictive modeling (statistical learning) and causal inference. Before joining VUmc, Thomas was a post-doc at the Department of Methodology and Statistics at Utrecht University, where he also received his PhD degree. His PhD thesis focused on methods for estimating and adjusting errors in survey statistics. In this time, he was additionally a fellow at the methodology section of Statistics Netherlands (Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek). In his current research, he focusses on methods for estimating optimal treatment strategies using patient registry data. He is involved in EU project BD2Decide where he collaborates in an international network on a clinical support system for treatment decision making. Furthermore, he acts as statistical consultant to researchers at VUmc.
Birgit Lissenberg-Witte studied Mathematics with a major in Statistics at the VU University Amsterdam and obtained her PhD degree in Mathematical Statistics at the Delft University of Technology. During her PhD research, she developed nonparametric methods to estimate the cumulative incidence of asymptomatic diseases, in particular the incidence of viral infections (HIV and Hepatitis A), and focussed on mathematical properties of these estimation methods. Her current research aims at more applied methodology in health science. She developed algorithms for more accurate estimation of cumulative incidence by correcting for misclassification of events due to limited accuracy of screening tests. Furthermore, she is involved in clinical decision research as a statistical consultant. Birgit teaches in the area of statistical methodology.
Tiago de Carvalho
Tiago M. de Carvalho did his bachelor degree in Economics at the University of Lisbon (ISEG), and has an MSc degree in Econometrics from the University of Groningen. He completed his PhD at the Department of Public Health, Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam, where he used a microsimulation model to quantify the harms and benefits of active surveillance after prostate cancer screening. Before joining the VUmc he held postdoctoral positions at University College London and at Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam. He joins the department to develop a model for the cost-effectiveness of ct-DNA in patients with metastasized colorectal cancer. His research interests include applying simulation and/or statistical models to evaluate health and economic outcomes of cancer care and developing methods based on metamodelling for efficient computation with simulation models.
Robine Donken obtained a Bachelor in Health and Life Sciences at VU University in Amsterdam and received her Master in Epidemiology at Utrecht University. Her PhD project was a collaboration between the VU Medical Center, Amsterdam and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Bilthoven in the Netherlands. Her PhD thesis focused on monitoring of the Dutch HPV vaccination program and describes the effects, the change to the two-dose schedule, methodological challenges and future perspective. After her PhD, Robine worked as a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, BC Canada, focussing on the population-based impact of the HPV vaccine as well as optimal immunization schedules. Her current research focusses on optimizing cervical cancer screening through risk-based strategies. She is also the program manager for the European consortium for Risk-based cervical cancer screening (RISCC).
Marjolein Greuter has a MSc degree in Research in Health Sciences from VU University Amsterdam, with a focus on health economic modeling. She is also a registered Epidemiologist. She completed her PhD on the ASCCA project (VU University Medical Center), which aimed to use micro-simulation to predict health effects and costs of population-based screening strategies for colorectal cancer (CRC). She has constructed a disease model that describes the natural history of CRC and used this model to predict the long-term health effects of the recently implemented Dutch colorectal cancer screening programme. Her current research focuses on the potential of biomarkers in CRC screening and surveillance. Besides her research, she teaches in the area of health economics and basic statistics.
Ingrid van Maurik
Ingrid van Maurik studied Health and Life Sciences at the VU University Amsterdam and received her MSc degree in Clinical Neuropsychology at Leiden University. She completed her PhD (cum laude) on the ABIDE project which aimed to develop biomarker-based prognostic models and decision support tools for memory clinic professionals. Her current research focuses on the development of multi-dimensional, individualized prognostic and cost-effectiveness models of Alzheimer’s disease, as part of the ADDITION project. She is also involved in the ABIDE-clinical utility project and IMI AMYPAD project. Both projects aim to find optimal diagnostic strategies for amyloid-PET in the memory clinic. All projects are in collaboration with the Alzheimercenter Amsterdam.
Birgit Sollie is a post-doctoral researcher and received her BSc and MSc in Mathematics at the VU University Amsterdam, where she specialized in stochastic processes, statistics and mathematical biology. She completed her PhD in statistics (VU University Amsterdam) on statistical inverse problems for population processes. She conducted research on population processes of which the parameters are affected by an underlying stochastic process, with the aim to find inference techniques to estimate the parameters, including those related to the underlying process. Her current research focuses on HPV transmission models and on cost-effectiveness assessments of HPV vaccination strategies.
Eddymurphy Akwiwu had his first degree in Industrial Mathematics at Imo State University, Nigeria. He holds two Masters degrees in Mathematical Sciences and Computational Engineering from the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences and Lappeenranta University of Technology, Finland respectively. During his master degrees, he worked on parameter identifiability of epidemiological models using Bayesian methods, and discrete modelling & analysis of contact networks in epidemic models. He is currently doing a PhD on Bayesian methods in modelling cancer screening at VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam. This project aims to develop probabilistic methods for multi-state models with applications to cervical cancer screening and colorectal cancer screening by simultaneously estimating the durations between health states and the accuracy of screening tests from individual-level screening and treatment data, explicitly addressing adequate estimation of uncertainty. In addition, he will develop and teach a course in Bayesian Statistics.
Maxime Bonjour is a medical student at the University of Lyon. He specialized in Public Health and also obtain a MSc degree in Biostatistic, Biomathematic and Bioinformatic from the University Claude Bernard, Lyon. After an internship for his residency in regional sanitary surveillance and biostatistics department of the Lyon Civil Hospices, he was 1 year in the Infection and Cancer Epidemiology group of the IARC where he worked in the field of HPV and cervical cancer models. He is now doing a one-year internship at the Decision Modeling Center, working more specifically on a model to reframe the timeline of cervical lesions with epigenetic data.
Federica Inturrisi studied Biology at the University of Catania and received her MSc degree in Molecular Biosciences, major Cancer Biology, from the University of Heidelberg and DKFZ. She also holds a MSc degree in Epidemiology and Biostatistics. After having worked on STI-related projects and in particular in the field of infection and cancer, she started her PhD at the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam. The aim of the project is to evaluate benefits, harms and cost-effectiveness of the risk-stratification strategy as foreseen in the new Dutch HPV-based cervical cancer screening program implemented in 2017.
Astrid Kramer studied Health Sciences at the VU University Amsterdam (BSc) and University of Twente (MSc). During her bachelor’s, she developed an interest in health technologies and during her master’s more specifically in health technology assessments and economic modelling. Subsequently, she started as a PhD student on the COIN-project. In the COIN-project, all research groups in the Netherlands collaborate to take the essential steps to implement analysis of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) in clinical practice in the Netherlands in a controlled, cost-effective and validated manner. Astrid will focus on the early health technology assessment in the COIN-project.
Kelsi Kroon obtained her master’s degree in mathematics at the University of St Andrews in Scotland where she studied mathematics and statistics with a focus on statistical modelling, medical statistics and data analysis. Her masters project on microarray time course and transcription factor analysis in prostate cancer cell lines sparked an interest in the application of statistical methods and data science to medical data, in particular cancer data. She is currently working as a PhD student on the Risk-based cervical cancer screening (RISCC) project at the VU Medical Center in Amsterdam.
Natalia R Kunst
Natalia R Kunst holds two MSc degrees, one in European Studies with a major in Economics and EU Finance (Gdansk University of Technology) and another in Management with a major in Accounting and Finance (Gdynia University). She has been working as a health economic consultant performing model-based evaluations for HTA purposes and developing decision-analytic models in many therapeutic areas such as oncology, neurology and immunology. Currently, she is pursuing a PhD at the University of Oslo in collaboration with the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam. Her PhD focuses on the inclusion of real-world data in decision-analytic modeling using the case of metastatic colorectal cancer. In the project, she utilizes extensive data coupled from several Norwegian registries. Building a disease simulation model, investigating the disease patterns and performing cost-effectiveness analyses for treatment and diagnostics, are three of the main tasks of the project.
Arenda Mank studied medicine at the Leiden University. She is currently doing a PhD at the VUmc Alzheimercenter on the ADDITION project, in collaboration with the department of epidemiology and biostatistics. The aim of this project is to assess the disease trajectories, care pathways and time to key events of relevance for an individual with Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore, ADDITION aims to develop a multi-dimensional, individualized prognosis and cost-effectiveness model of Alzheimer’s disease.
Zakile A. Mfumbilwa studied Statistics at The University of Dodoma and received his Master of Statistics with specialization in Biostatistics from Hasselt University. Currently, he is a PhD researcher at VU University Medical Center, on the TANGO project. This project aims to assess long-term health outcomes and cost-effectiveness of using whole genome sequencing (WGS) result (tumor load) as well as imaging data in the decision to provide immunotherapy in advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and melanoma patients, compared to current practice of immunotherapy treatment.
Francine van Wifferen
Francine van Wifferen studied Biomedical Sciences and received her MSc degree with specializations in Epidemiology and Health Technology Assessment at the Radboud university in Nijmegen. She is currently working as a PhD student on the ASCCA project at the VU University medical center. The ASCCA project aims to optimize colorectal cancer screening and surveillance in terms of effectiveness and cost-effectiveness. She will especially focus on the potential of biomarker tests for the detection of colorectal cancer and its precursor lesions.
Harold Wolff studied Bio-Medical sciences, with extra-curricular courses in medicine, computer sciences, chemistry and physics, and obtained his MSc degree in Systems Biology at the VU University Amsterdam. After his MSc, he worked as a research assistant at the University of Pittsburgh and as a pre-doc at the Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) on a bio-physical tissue simulation model. He is currently doing a PhD at the VU University Medical Center on a micro-simulation model of non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC). This model aims to predict long-term health-effects and cost-effectiveness of diagnostics and treatments in NSCLC.