One week’s course of the 32nd Residential 3-week Summer Course in Epidemiology

On July 1 – June 5, 2019, I was lucky to attend the third course week of the 32nd Residential 3-week Summer Course in Epidemiology in Centro Studi, Tuscany, Italy. My two select topics were ‘Causal methods in epidemiology: Mendelian randomization and triangulation’ and ‘Advanced topics in epidemiology’. Thank for EPINOR supporting me to attend the courses.

In recent years several novel epidemiological methods have been developed to explore causality and the Mendelian randomization is the most useful one. The lecture was given by Debbie Lawlor and Carolina Borges. Both are experts on this topic from Bristol who are at the forefront of developing this approach.

This is an introductory level course which is very suitable for students like me who have not much prior knowledge on this method. During the course, I have learned about one-sample and two-sample Mendelian randomization, including their assumptions and gaining practical experience of how to apply these methods to real data. Besides, I have learned about cross-context comparisons, negative control studies, matched designs within sibship comparisons and instrumental variable analyses and how to triangulate findings from these different methods.

Photo: Lin Jiang

The other course on advanced epidemiology during the afternoon was taught by Professor Irene Petersen and Jan Vandenbroucke. I have gotten more ideal on how to deal with missing data and in-depth knowledge on instrumental variable analysis. There were group works every day to make us better understand the topics. However, I don’t think this course was well organized because we got lecture on traditional study designs in epidemiology in the middle of the course which should be taught in a basic epidemiological course. I would rather get more practical exercises on missing data topic.

Although we had very long day every day, from 9:00 am until 6:30 pm for the courses, I really enjoyed the days. We had delicious snacks, fruits and coffee while we talked with others during the course breaks which made me feel not so tired. I also got unforgettable memory with the wonderful Thursday’s dinner in the countryside of Tuscany. I would definitely recommend all of you within biostatistics and epidemiology fields seeking to this course in the future.

By Lin Jiang, PhD from NTNU 

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Last updated: 17.12.2019 10:38