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Oscar Franco Duran



Oscar Franco Duran

Phone+31 (0)10 70 43484

Biographical Sketch



Institution and location Degree Completion Date Field of Study
Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Columbia MD 12/1998 Medicine
Netherlands Institute for Health Sciences MSc 08/2002 Epidemiology
Netherlands Institute for Health Sciences DSc 08/2003 Epidemiology
Erasmus University Medical Center PhD 08/2005 Epidemiology and Public Health
University of Cambridge and Faculty of Public Health England Consultant 02/2012 Public Health

Personal Statement

I am a medical doctor, Epidemiologist and public health specialist (clinically trained in England as consultant in public health medicine) working as professor of preventive medicine at the department of epidemiology, Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. I am leading the cardiovascular epidemiology group. I am also the founder and director of ErasmusAGE, a new center evaluating the role of lifestyle on healthy ageing across the lifecourse. I am also founder and CEO of Erasmus Epidemiology Resources, a new company focused on epidemiology and public health translational research. I am also the Deputy Science Director of the Netherlands Institute for Health Sciences (NIHES). Furthermore, I am a key collaborator and one of the nucleus consultants of the Population Epidemiology and Prevention group of the European Society of Cardiology. Within these positions I have been able to participate and lead many international collaborations that have resulted in key scientific publications and position papers. The experience that I have built in these years qualifies me not only to initiate and coordinate but also to constructively collaborate with international projects. My research domain is the prevention (particularly primary prevention) of cardiovascular disease and other non-communicable disorders (mainly cardiometabolic disorders) and healthy ageing. One of my main areas of interest is the role of lifestyle factors in the prevention of non-communicable disorders. In particular, I have performed projects to clarify and quantify the role of lifestyle factors (e.g. diet, physical activity, sleep, smoking) have in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. For this I have used multiple original studies including the Framingham Heart Study, the Nurses Health Study, the Generation R Study and the Rotterdam Study. Additionally I have also lead many systematic reviews and meta-analyses of published literature also aimed at evaluating the role of lifestyle on prevention of cardiovascular disease. I have so far published 379 international scientific papers and currently lead a research group including 7 postdoctoral scientists, 29 PhD students and 9 Master students. Altogether, I believe that my training, expertise, leadership, and motivation enable me to successfully carry out the proposed research project.

Positions and Honors

Positions and employment:

June 2018: Director Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM), Bern, Switzerland
2012-May 2018: Professor of Preventive Medicine, PI Cardiovascular Epidemiology, Director of ErasmusAGE, CEO Erasmus Epidemiology Resources, Deputy Scientific Director Netherlands Institute for Health Sciences, Department of Epidemiology, Erasmus University Medical centre, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
2008-2012: Assistant Professor and Director of MPhil in Public Health, Department of Public Health and Primary Care, University of Cambridge, UK
2006-2008: Senior Public Health Epidemiologist, Unilever, UK
2005-2006: Post-doctoral scientist, Department of Public Health, Erasmus University Medical Centre, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

2005: National Dutch Public Health Prize

Contributions to Science

1. Lifestyle factors and their impact on cardiovascular disease and life expectancy: In several publications I found that the lack of different lifestyle factors, including obesity, physical activity and diet, were related with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, mortality and shorter life expectancy. For this I have used multistate Iife tables and combined this information with available evidence in the field plus information from large cohorts (Framingham Heart Study) to calculate the impact of these lifestyle factors on cardiovascular risk. These efforts have so far resulted in providing further emphasis regarding the burden related to following unhealthy lifestyle.

Relevant papers:
a) Franco OH, Steyerberg EW, Hu FB, Mackenbach J, Nusselder W. Associations of diabetes mellitus with total life expectancy and life expectancy with and without cardiovascular disease. Arch Intern Med. 2007 Jun 11;167(11):1145-51.
b) Franco OH, de Laet C, Peeters A, Jonker J, Mackenbach J, Nusselder W. Effects of physical activity on life expectancy with cardiovascular disease. Arch Intern Med. 2005 Nov 14;165(20):2355-60.
c) Franco OH, Peeters A, Bonneux L, de Laet C. Blood pressure in adulthood and life expectancy with cardiovascular disease in men and women: life course analysis. Hypertension. 2005 Aug;46(2):280-6.
d) Jonker JT, De Laet C, Franco OH, Peeters A, Mackenbach J, Nusselder WJ. Physical activity and life expectancy with and without diabetes: life table analysis of the Framingham Heart Study. Diabetes Care. 2006 Jan;29(1):38-43.
e) van Dam RM, Li T, Spiegelman D, Franco OH, Hu FB. Combined impact of lifestyle factors on mortality: prospective cohort study in US women. BMJ. 2008 Sep 16;337:a1440.
f) Nusselder WJ, Looman CW, Franco OH, Peeters A, Slingerland AS, Mackenbach JP. The relation between non-occupational physical activity and years lived with and without disability. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2008 Sep;62(9):823-8.
g) Heidemann C, Schulze MB, Franco OH, van Dam RM, Mantzoros CS, Hu FB. Dietary patterns and risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all causes in a prospective cohort of women. Circulation. 2008 Jul 15;118(3):230-7.

2. Healthy ageing, a novel concept: I have leaded the development and publication of a new concept regarding healthy ageing and revising adequate ways to measure it in population studies. The effect of multiple risk factors and lifestyle factors were evaluated in relation with healthy ageing, furthermore, I leaded the evaluation and report regarding the status of ageing research in the UK, this was a project commissioned by the House of Lords in the UK.

Relevant papers:
a) Franco OH, Karnik K, Osborne G, Ordovas JM, Catt M, van der Ouderaa F. Changing course in ageing research: The healthy ageing phenotype. Maturitas. 2009 May 20;63(1):13-9.
b) Franco OH, Kirkwood TB, Powell JR, Catt M, Goodwin J, Ordovas JM, van der Ouderaa F. Ten commandments for the future of ageing research in the UK: a vision for action. BMC Geriatr. 2007 May 3;7:10.
c) Nusselder WJ, Franco OH, Peeters A, Mackenbach JP. Living healthier for longer: comparative effects of three heart-healthy behaviors on life expectancy with and without cardiovascular disease. BMC Public Health. 2009 Dec 24;9:487.
d) Sun Q, Townsend MK, Okereke OI, Franco OH, Hu FB, Grodstein F. Adiposity and weight change in mid-life in relation to healthy survival after age 70 in women: prospective cohort study. BMJ. 2009 Sep 29;339:b3796.
e) Newson RS, Witteman JC, Franco OH, Stricker BH, Breteler MM, Hofman A, Tiemeier H. Predicting survival and morbidity-free survival to very old age. Age (Dordr). 2010 Dec;32(4):521-34.
f) Shroufi A, Chowdhury R, Aston LM, Pashayan N, Franco OH. Measuring health: a practical challenge with a philosophical solution? Maturitas. 2011 Mar;68(3):210-6

3. Cardiovascular disease primary prevention and the polypill: I have leaded multiple studies evaluating the role of medications (statins in particular), medication adherence and an alternative formulation called the Polypill in the prevention of cardiovascular disease. I have also postulated an alternative to the Polypill, called the Polymeal and have evaluated the potential cost-effectiveness of the Polypill if this formulation would be made available in the market.

Relevant papers:
a) Kavousi M, Leening MJ, Nanchen D, Greenland P, Graham IM, Steyerberg EW, Ikram MA, Stricker BH, Hofman A, Franco OH. Comparison of application of the ACC/AHA guidelines, Adult Treatment Panel III guidelines, and European Society of Cardiology guidelines for cardiovascular disease prevention in a European cohort. JAMA. 2014 Apr 9;311(14):1416-23.
b) van Kempen BJ, Ferket BS, Kavousi M, Leening MJ, Steyerberg EW, Ikram MA, Witteman JC, Hofman A, Franco OH, Hunink MG. Performance of Framingham cardiovascular disease (CVD) predictions in the Rotterdam Study taking into account competing risks and disentangling CVD into coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke. Int J Cardiol. 2014 Feb 15;171(3):413-8.
c) Chowdhury R, Khan H, Heydon E, Shroufi A, Fahimi S, Moore C, Stricker B, Mendis S, Hofman A, Mant J, Franco OH. Adherence to cardiovascular therapy: a meta-analysis of prevalence and clinical consequences. Eur Heart J. 2013 Oct;34(38):2940-8.
d) Shroufi A, Chowdhury R, Anchala R, Stevens S, Blanco P, Han T, Niessen L, Franco OH. Cost effective interventions for the prevention of cardiovascular disease in low and middle income countries: a systematic review. BMC Public Health. 2013 Mar 28;13:285.
e) Franco OH, Hofman A. The future of preventive medicine: polypill prescriptions in the context of Plato's physical perspective. Prev Med. 2012 Dec;55(6):550-1.
f) Jørgensen T, Capewell S, Prescott E, Allender S, Sans S, Zdrojewski T, De Bacquer D, de Sutter J, Franco OH, Løgstrup S, Volpe M, Malyutina S, Marques-Vidal P, Reiner Z, Tell GS, Verschuren WM, Vanuzzo D; PEP section of EACPR. Population-level changes to promote cardiovascular health. Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2013 Jun;20(3):409-21.
g) Franco OH, Karnik K, Bonneux L. The future of metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease prevention: polyhype or polyhope? Tales from the polyera. Horm Metab Res. 2007 Sep;39(9):627-31.
h) Franco OH, der Kinderen AJ, De Laet C, Peeters A, Bonneux L. Primary prevention of cardiovascular disease: cost-effectiveness comparison. Int J Technol Assess Health Care. 2007 Winter;23(1):71-9.
i) Franco OH, Steyerberg EW, de Laet C. The polypill: at what price would it become cost effective? J Epidemiol Community Health. 2006 Mar;60(3):213-7.
j) Franco OH, Peeters A, Looman CW, Bonneux L. Cost effectiveness of statins in coronary heart disease. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2005 Nov;59(11):927-33.
k) Franco OH, Bonneux L, de Laet C, Peeters A, Steyerberg EW, Mackenbach JP. The Polymeal: a more natural, safer, and probably tastier (than the Polypill strategy to reduce cardiovascular disease by more than 75%. BMJ. 2004

Research Support

Title: Nutrition and Health across the life course
PI: Oscar H. Franco
Start Feb 2012
End: June 2015
This funded project is investigating the role that nutrition might have on overall health (with emphasis on cardiometabolic health) across the life course. We evaluated the role of nutrition among children within the Generation R Study as well as the role of nutrition during pregnancy on offspring health.

Title: Lifestyle and Women’s health
PI: Oscar H. Franco
Start June 2013
End: June 2016
This funded project is aimed at describing the main definition and characteristics of a healthy menopausal transition. It also aims at evaluating the role of lifestyle factors on healthy ageing in women, focused among older adults and elderly.

Title: Methylation, Nutrition and Cardiometabolic Health
PI: Oscar H. Franco and Abbas Dehghan
Start June 2015
End: June 2018
This funded project entitled “Methylation, Nutrition and Cardiometabolic Health” is investigating – in one of its sub aims - the association of DNA methylation at known CAD genes with risk of CVD and conventional CVD risk factors. In the current application we are investigating the same research question using metabolomics rather than epigenomics. Both projects are complementary to each other and aim to shed light on the mechanisms that underlie the functionality of the known CAD genes.

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