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Position and scientific career: Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Ahrens is professor of epidemiological methods at the faculty of mathematics and computer science of the University of Bremen, Germany. He is Deputy Director of the Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology – BIPS in Bremen and head of the department Epidemiological Methods and Etiological Research. Having finished his biology studies in 1985 he worked as scientific assistant in numerous epidemiologic studies with focus on work- and environment-related cancer. In the years 1995-1998 he established the working group Epidemiology at the Institute for Medical Informatics, Biometry and Epidemiology, University Clinic Essen. After his PhD thesis on “Retrospective assessment of occupational exposure in epidemiological case- control studies” he established the cross sectional division Epidemiological Methods and Field Work at the BIPS. From 1998-2003 he was Head of the division. In 2000 he qualified as professor for Epidemiology and Public Health. In 2003 he was offered a W3-professorship for Epidemiological Methods at Bremen University. A key focus of his research addresses the causes of lifestyle diseases as well as their primary prevention and the scientific evaluation of intervention measures. Further research interests lie in the area of the aetiology of cancer with focus on environmental factors and occupational exposures and the use of secondary data for epidemiological research. He initiated the largest Europe-wide intervention study on overweight, obesity and other disorders in children conditioned by nutrition, lifestyle and social factors (www.idefics.eu; 2006-2012) and is currently coordinating the subsequent prospective cohort study on lifestyle, diet and exercise in children, adolescents and their parents – the I.Family study (www.ifamilystudy.eu; 2012-2017).
Furthermore, he is a Member of the Board of Directors, chair of the Northwest cluster and PI of the study centre Bremen of the German National Cohort (GNC). The German National Cohort is a joint interdisciplinary endeavour of scientists from the Helmholtz and the Leibniz Association, universities, and other research institutes. Its aim is to investigate the causes for the development of major chronic diseases, i.e. cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, neurodegenerative/-psychiatric diseases, musculoskeletal diseases, respiratory and infectious diseases, and their pre-clinical stages or functional health impairments. (www.nako.de).