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Unit of Integrative Epidemiology

The main goal of our research is to improve the understanding of the causes and consequences of ill health and disease, with a focus on neurodegenerative diseases, psychiatric disorders, and cancer. We strive for multidisciplinary approaches in epidemiologic research and integrate different scientific tools when addressing specific research questions.

Neurodegenerative diseases
We are interested in studying the risk factors as well as prognostic indicators for neurodegenerative diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson's disease. Our research questions include for example the roles of energy metabolism, immune modulation, and gut microbiome, as well as their interactions in the risk and prognosis of different neurodegenerative diseases. 

Psychiatric disorders
We are interested in studying risk factors and health consequences of different psychiatric disorders, especially the ones that are known to be related to psychological stress such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, stress reaction, and adjustment disorders. We are also interested in studying comorbidity patterns between psychiatric disorders and other chronic diseases, including autoimmune disease, cardiovascular disease, major infections, and cancer.

We are interested in studying the potentially bi-directional link between psychological stress and cancer. For instance, we are interested in the role of psychological stress and its moderators on the initiation as well as prognosis of cancer. We also study cancer as a stressful life event and examine its role in the subsequent health outcomes of cancer patients and their families.

Psychological stress and its related health outcomes
We are interested in the short- and long-term health consequences of severely stressful life events, including loss of a significant other due to death, violence and natural disaster. We are also interested in the determinants, genetic and non-genetic, of stress resilience.

Head of Unit

Fang Fang


Unit members

Katja Fall, affiliated researcher 

Jiangwei Sun, PhD student (stipend)

Can Cui, PhD student (stipend)

Qianwei Liu, PhD student (stipend)

Kejia Hu, PhD student (stipend) 

Shifeng Lian, PhD student (stipend)