I.Family Project Partners
I.Family – Investigating the determinants of food choice, lifestyle and health in European children, adolescents and their parents
17 partners from 12 European countries delivered the I.Family Study, coordinated by the University of Bremen and BIPS – the Institute for Epidemiology and Prevention Research under the joint leadership of Professor Wolfgang Ahrens, Professor Iris Pigeot and Dr Alfonso Siani of ISA-CNR.
There are 17 members of the I.Family Study consortium, drawn from 12 countries across the European Union:
UNIHB’s main tasks in I.Family
UNIHB coordinates I Family with Professor Wolfgang Ahrens chairing Work Package 1 (WP1) – Management and co-chairing Work Package 2 (WP2) – The Epidemiological Platform
The Department of Neuropsychology and Behavioral Neurobiology (DNBN, at the Center for Cognitive Sciences) will be in charge of the neuropsychologial and neuroimaging investigations in Work Package 4. The Centre of Computing & Communication Technologies (TZI) developed a web-based tool for dietary assessment based on existing professional nutrition database software for easy completion online by children and their parents (WP3).
UNIHB staff working on I Family
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Ahrens is Professor for Epidemiological Methods at UNIHB. His research activities focus on environmental factors and occupational exposures implicated in cancer, lifestyle related disorders as well as primary prevention and evaluation.
Prof. Dr. Dr. Manfred Herrmann is a Professor at UNIHB and chair of the DNBN. His research activities encompass clinical and experimental neurosciences using neuroimaging, EEG, biomolecular, as well as clinical-diagnostic methods.
Prof. Dr. Michael Lawo is Professor of Applied Computer Science at UNIHB. His research centres on human computer interaction and context recognition based on machine learning and artificial intelligence methods with applications in healthcare and ambient assisted living settings.
ISA-CNR’s main tasks in I Family:
ISA-CNR will contribute to the scientific coordination of I Family, with Dr. Alfonso Siani serving as deputy coordinator, and chairing WP4. ISA-CNR is a cohort centre in WP2, and will carry out work on genetic/ genomics factors in WP4, in particular, exploring new genetic markers of taste and familial aggregation of food choice. ISA-CNR will also contribute to the tasks planned in WP5, with Dr. Gianvincenzo Barba as co-chair. The nutritional epidemiology expertise of the group will contribute to dietary and eating habits issues that are encountered throughout the I Family study.
ISA-CNR staff members working on I Family
Dr Alfonso Siani, MD, Head of EPIGEN, will lead the ISA-CNR group in I Family. He has more than 25 years of research experience, particularly in the field of nutrition and metabolism, co-ordinates the participation of ISA-CNR in many international research projects and is the author of about 100 research papers and book chapters.
Dr Gianvincenzo Barba, MD – in memoriam
Dr Paola Russo, BSc Biol is responsible for SNPs Lab where she supervises biochemical and genetic analyses for the international projects carried out at ISA-CNR.
Dr Giuseppe Iacomino, PhD has research expertise in transcriptional regulation, signal transduction pathways, and recombinant DNA technology.
Dr. Fabio Lauria, BSc Biol has expertise in molecular biology and genetic epidemiology.
CBS’ main tasks in I Family:
CBS will lead WP7 and co-lead WP8. Their focus is on nutrition-related consumer behaviour and its environmental influences and in I Family CBS will be responsible for external factors – choice setting experiments, media studies, social marketing and policy implications.
CBS’ staff members working on I Family
Prof. Dr Lucia Reisch is an economicst and social scientist by training. She is a full professor at CBS and chair for ‘Intercultural Consumer Research and European Consumer Policy’ at the Department of Intercultural Communication and Management (ICM). Based on her experience on consumer behaviour and policy issues, especially regarding young consumers, food, and media use and as an international consumer policy consultant she was for nine years elected member and chairwoman of the Scientific Advisory Board for Consumer, Food, and Nutrition Policies to the German Federal Ministry of Consumer Protection, Food and Agriculture – a high level advisory board to the German Food and Consumer Protection Ministry. She currently chairs the Consumer Commission, a think tank for consumer policy and research and is consulting with the German government on sustainability, sustainable consumption and public health issues.
Dr Wencke Gwozdz is an economist by training and associate professor for transformative consumer behaviour and sustainability at Copenhagen Business School. She holds a doctoral degree in economics and social sciences from University of Hohenheim (Germany). As a consumer researcher, her main focus is on sustainable consumption, health behaviour and consumer policy. Her main topics are centered on obesity, well-being and fashion consumption. Among others, she is involved in EU-research projects on healthy eating and, in particular on decision-making in food choice (Nudge-It). Moreover, she is the project leader for “Sustainable Consumption and Consumer Behaviour” in the MISTRA Future Fashion project dealing with sustainability in the fashion industry.
Lancaster University’s main tasks in I Family:
Lancaster University is leader of Work Package 8 concerned with consumer issues, ethics and policy and co-leader of Work Package 9 dealing with communication and dissemination. The main focus of their work concerns stakeholder engagement and policy issues. The researchers involved are all based in the University’s Department of Politics, Philosophy & Religion.
Lancaster University staff working on I Family
Garrath Williams is the Principal Investigator for I.Family at Lancaster. He researches in moral philosophy, political theory, public policy and applied ethics. Particular interests include philosophy of responsibility, roles and institutions, and bioethics, including research ethics and childhood obesity. He has published widely on these topics, including a recent book (co-authored with Kristin Voigt and Stuart G Nicholls, Childhood Obesity: Ethical and Policy Issues. Garrath also sits on the Executive Committees of the UK Kant Society and the Society for Applied Philosophy.
Faye Tucker is a postgraduate student with a background in moral and political philosophy. She is currently investigating the impact of marketing on personal autonomy, with particular attention to adolescence. She is especially interested in the role of marketing as a powerful socializing force in our society, and the impact that socializing forces have on autonomy. Individuals are often supposed to be able to achieve autonomy by critical reflection on their desires and motivations, or by identifying with those desires. Yet critical reflection and identities are subject to influence by socialization. Faye is therefore looking at conceptions of autonomy that address the problems caused by socialization and how marketing can be more or less congruent with such autonomy. Faye’s wider interests include: the moral and political status of children, particularly adolescents; the self; the family; understanding value; and the intersection between philosophy and public policy.
Mairi Levitt is a sociologist who has worked on several topics of bioethical concern, including children’s attitudes to genomic technologies and questions of public engagement and trust in new technology. Her most recent publications are on behavioural genetics and public understandings of responsibility for behaviour. She co-edited the well-known collection, The Right to Know and the Right not to Know (with Ruth Chadwick and Darren Shickle) and sits on the editorial boards of Bioethics, New Genetics and Society, Health Care Analysis and Genetics, Society and Policy.
Neil Manson is co-author, with Onora O’Neill, of Rethinking Informed Consent in Bioethics (2007). He has acted as a member of the UK National Health Service’s Organ Donation Ethics Working Group and is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Applied Philosophy.
UGOT’s main tasks in I Family:
UGOT is a cohort centre (WP2) and will focus on dietary behaviour and physical activity. UGOT will lead WP6 and be also involved in WP3.
UGOT staff working on I Family
Gabriele Eiben, PhD in Medicine and a Masters degree in clinical nutrition, working as a researcher at the University of Gothenburg. She is the PI for UGOT in I Family and was the project leader for IDEFICS in Sweden. Her research interests are in epidemiological studies of diet and obesity, and obesity prevention programs. She is part of the WP3 and the diet panel.
Lauren Lissner is Professor of Epidemiology and Co-ordinator of the EpiLife Center of Excellence, which is investigating epidemiological studies of mental and physical health interacting over the life-course. This consortium includes several different faculties within the university and a large number of population based epidemiological studies. She is the chair of WP 6.
Staffan Mårild, Associate Professor at the Department of Paediatric Medicine, has experience in clinical work and research as a paediatrician since 1977. Since January 2000 he has been in charge of the obesity treatment team at the Queen Silvia Children’s Hospital, running different treatment and research programmes. He has also been appointed by the regional authorities to develop and run programmes for health promotion, prevention and treatment of overweight and obesity in children and adolescents. He was PI of the Swedish IDEFICS study.
Monica Hunsberger, PhD in Public Health and registered dietitian is an Associate Professor at University of Gothenburg’s School of Public Health and Community Medicine. She is a diet panel member and part of WP3 and WP6. Previously she worked in the USA with a focus on maternal and child health.
Other involved people from UGOT are Katarina Englund (Communications Co-ordinator), Lena Beijer (Financial Administrator), Marie Göthlund (Financial Administrator), Christina Berg (Researcher), Gianluca Tognon (Researcher) and Louise Arvidsson (PhD student).
UHEL’s main tasks in I Family:
University of Helsinki has expertise in genetics and twin studies which it will contribute to WP6 (as co-leader) and also to WP2, with a focus on familial aggregation, quantitative genetic modelling, and longitudinal analysis of family data.
UHEL staff members working on I Family
Scientific & daily management is the responsibility of Jaakko Kaprio, MD, PhD, Prof. of Genetic Epidemiology, UHEL and Research Professor in Behavioural Genetics, National Institute of Health and Welfare. Jaakko has been involved in genetic epidemiology (twin and family studies) since 1976. He has been medically trained, specialising in epidemiology and spent a two-year post-doc period in the US (1987-1989). In 2001 he was awarded the highest award of the International Society for Twin Studies, the James Shield award, for outstanding contribution to twin studies and was President of the International Society for Twin Studies 2005-2007. Dr. Kaprio has been an Academy of Finland Research Professor since 2013.
Anu Raevuori, MD completed her PhD (2009) on eating disorders in men, and is specializing in adolescent psychiatry
Leonie-Helen Bogl is a postdoc at the University of Helsinki. She has recently completed her PhD thesis on diet, obesity and lipid profile in young adult twins. She is interested to explore which factors make children in a family different and similar to each other.
Teemu Palviainen is a statistician who will assist in the analysis on familial aggregation.
Both have the necessary methodological skills to contribute to this project and will be supported by Professor Karri Silventoinen, an expert in family analyses methods, Professor Hely Tuorila, professor of Food Technology, and Professor Anna Keski-Rahkonen, an expert in eating disorders and related behaviours.
UIB’s main tasks in I Family:
UIB is an expert for genomics and will be involved in WP4 and will contribute to WP2.
UIB staff members working on I Family
The I Family research team at UIB are Professor Andreu Palou (Director of LBNB); Professor Catalina Picó (Deputy director of LBNB); Dr M. Luisa Bonet (Scientific Secretary of LBNB); Professor Francisca Serra; Dr Paula Oliver; Dr Joan Ribot; Dr Ana M. Rodriguez; Dr Juana Sanchez; Dr Teresa Priego, Dr Mariona Palou. All are permanent staff members and have experience in physiology of body weight regulation, molecular biology of adipose tissue, food intake regulation, and gene regulation by nutrients.
Other members of the team include Dr. Nuria Granados and Marina Llopis (administrative management); Enzo Ceresi (immunohistochemistry) and a group of 10 PhD students working full time with the support of government grants.
UPE’s main tasks in I Family:
UPE will contribute to the cohort studies in WP2 and act as co-leader of WP7.
UPE staff members working on I Family
Prof. Dénes Molnár MD, PhD, DSc: Paediatrics, obesitology (above left). Formerly President and now scientific advisor of the European Childhood Obesity Group and is member of the editorial board of the International Journal of Paediatrics Obesity and Obesity Facts. He is PhD programme leader of Nutritional research in children and infants and his special interest is in metabolic and eating disorders and the prevention of adult diseases in childhood.
Dr Eva Erhardt MD PhD: specialises in Paediatrics and in Endocrinology and is Head of the Department of Endocrinology. Her main research interest lies in the genetic background and the consequences of childhood obesity.
Dr Eva Kovács MD, psychologist (above middle): specialized in Epidemiology and in Preventive Medicine.
Aliz Szommer (above right): a medical doctor and PhD candidate at the University of Pécs, interested in the program of Nutritional research in children and infants.
UMCU’s main tasks in I Family:
As expert for neuro-imaging, neuropsychology and eating disorders, UMCU will be co-leader of WP4 and will also be involved in WP2.
UMCU staff members working on I Family
Roger Adan, PhD, Professor of Molecular Pharmacology since 2002, has almost 20 years of experience in research and has led a research group for 15 years. He has around 90 publications in Peer Reviewed journals and has been an invited speaker at many International Congresses. His field of research is around the molecular and neural circuits that underlie feeding behaviour.
Paul Smeets, PhD focuses on the neural processes that govern food intake behaviour, in particular the effects of food stimuli on the human brain. His PhD work focused on biomarkers of satiety in the brain. He uses functional neuroimaging in conjunction with endocrinological and psychological measures to unravel the neural processes which lead to the decision to eat.
Unna Danner, PhD completed her Post-Doc in neuropsychology working at Rintveld, Centre for Eating Disorders and Clinical & Healthy Psychology at Utrecht University. In her PhD research she focused on cognitive processes underlining habits and in particular inhibitory control issues. Currently she examines neuropsychological processes in eating disordered patients and obese individuals.
Hans Wijbrand Hoek, MD PhD, is Professor of Psychiatry at University Medical Centre, Groningen, The Netherlands, and has an adjunct position as Professor of Epidemiology at Columbia University, New York. He is director of the psychiatric residency programme in Parnassia Bavo Psychiatric Institute in The Hague. With around 80 peer reviewed publications; his main publications relate to the epidemiology of eating disorders and the effects of prenatal famine. Dr Hoek is a member of the DSM-V Work Group Eating Disorders.
Floor van Meer, MSc works as a PhD-candidate at the Image Sciences Institute of the UMC Utrecht. Her task is to examine the neural correlates of (un)healthy food viewing and food choice in children, parents, and relations with neuropsychology, genetics and subject characteristics. To this end she uses functional neuroimaging and (neuro)psychological measures.
Juul Coumans, MSc works as a research assistant at the Brain Center Rudolf Magnus of the UMC Utrecht and at Altrecht Eating Disorders Rintveld under supervision of Unna Danner and Roger Adan. Her task is to examine the neuropsychological profile(s) of unhealthy eaters, in particular in children but also within families. Once genetic information is available, she will collaborate on the interplay between neuropsychological profiles and genetic characteristics with other members of the UMC Utrecht group.
LBG REF’s main tasks in I Family:
REF is a cohort centre in WP2.
LBG REF’s staff members working on I Family
Dr. Michael Tornaritis is the Director of REF. Since September 2003 he has been working as teachers’ trainer at the ‘Pedagogical Institute of Cyprus’. Health education is a major component of his interests and from September 1995 to June 2003 he led the Healthy Children Programme in elementary schools of Cyprus, designing and organizing the programme Michael himself. In this, he worked in close collaboration with the Ministries of Health and Education – every year all the 11,000 sixth grade school children of Cyprus and 500 high school students took part in clinical, nutritional, socio-economical and physical fitness examinations. In addition, 1,500 children aged 2-6 years and 3,000 aged 6-11 years took part in the programme. Overall, 17% of the population of Cyprus was involved in this project.
The two senior scientists at REF, also responsible for I Family are:
Dr Charalambos Chadjigeorgiou, pediatrician, whose interest is in the epidemiology of eating disorders.
Dr Yiannis A. Kourides, pediatrician, whose interest is in the effects on health from socioeconomic factors.
NIHD’s main task in I Family:
NIHD is a cohort centre in WP2.
NIHD’s staff members working on I Family
Dr Toomas Veidebaum is Head of the team at NIHD, Research Director of the Institute and since 2003, has been chairman on the scientific board of NIHD. He brings his experience in epidemiology and molecular epidemiology to I Family. His main fields of research are molecular and genetic epidemiology, environmental health, toxicology and biomarkers. From 2000, Toomas has been a member of the advisory commission on public health in the Estonian Academy of Science.
INTs’ main tasks in I Family:
INT as an expert in dietary assessment methods will be leader of WP3 and will also be involved in WP2.
INT’s staff members working on I Family
Vittorio Krogh MD, MS is an epidemiologist currently director of the Epidemiology and Prevention Unit, Department of Preventive & Predictive Medicine at the Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori in Milan. Since 2012 he has been associate Professor, Department of Oncology, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. He has also collaborated on several projects investigating the relationship between diet and cancer, including the Italian ORDET study, EPIC (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Diet), and the DIETSCAN Project. From 2006 to 2011 Dr. Krogh was a member of the diet panel and nutritional epidemiologist consultant for the IDEFICS study (Identification and prevention of dietary- and lifestyle-induced health effects in children and infants).
Valeria Pala DSc is an epidemiologist and senior researcher at the Epidemiology and Prevention Unit, Department of Preventive & Predictive Medicine at the Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori in Milan. She has worked on the Italian ORDET study, EPIC (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Diet), and co-investigated of the DIANA (diet and androgens) randomized trial, a project whose aim was to reduce levels of sex hormones and other metabolic risk factors through a comprehensive change in diet. From 2006 to 2011, Valeria Pala was a member of the diet panel and nutritional epidemiologist consultant for the IDEFICS study (Identification and prevention of dietary- and lifestyle-induced health effects in children and infants). She has recently published results from the IDEFICS study which show that dietary patterns are associated with risk of overweigh/obesity in European children (Pala V. Lissner L. et al. EJCN 2013).
UBR’s main tasks in I Family:
Within I Family, UBR is an expert on physical activity and the built environment and will lead WP5 as well as having involvement in the majority of other work packages where relevant. UBR have been using both objective and subjective measures of physical activity for more than 15 years and their recent work integrates GPS with accelerometers to measure use of the environment for physical activity.
UBR staff members working on I Family
Dr Angie Page and Professor Ashley Cooper lead a number of projects investigating the relationship between features of the physical and social environment and physical activity in young people, including the PEACH project (Personal and Environmental Associations with Children’s Health) and the PEAR Project (Physical Environment and Activity Relationships in adolescents). They also Scientific Collaborators for the DECIPHer Public Health Research, founder members of the European Youth Heart Study and members of the International Children’s Activity Database (ICAD).
Minerva’s main tasks in I Family:
To provide leadership, support and delivery in dissemination and internal and external communications, including web, e- and media-based activity. Minerva will lead WP9 and be involved in WP1 and WP2.
Minerva’s staff members working in I Family
Rhonda Smith, Managing Director of Minerva, a History & Politics graduate, was formerly Managing Director of GCI Healthcare, a top 10 global public relations agency where she was Practice Lead in Issues Management working on Europe-wide campaigns for pharmaceutical, medical devices, nutrition companies and not-for-profit organisations. Rhonda formerly sat on the Dialogue Committee in London, chaired by Lord Turnberg, committed to improving public understanding of science in medicine.
Other members involved throughout the project were; Charlotte Reid, Marie Saville, Kate Viggers, Maisie Smith, Emily Nash.
BIPS’ main tasks in I Family:
BIPS will co-lead the management of I Family, with Professor Iris Pigeot, director of BIPS, serving as deputy coordinator, and co-chairing WP1. BIPS will contribute to the cohort studies in WP2 which Prof. Pigeot will chair, while Dr. Antje Hebestreit will co-chair WP3.
BIPS staff members working on I Family
Prof Iris Pigeot is Director of BIPS and Head of the Department of Biometry and Data Management. She is Professor of Statistics with a focus on biometry and epidemiological methods at UNIHB. Her particular methodological interests include graphical models to capture data – for example, gene-environment interactions and statistical modelling of environmental factors.
Wolfgang Ahrens is Deputy Director of BIPS and Head of the Department of Epidemiological Methods and Etiologic Research. He is Professor of Epidemiological Methods at UNIHB. His research activities focus on environmental factors and occupational exposures implicated in cancer, lifestyle related disorders as well as primary prevention and evaluation.
Antje Hebestreit (PhD in Nutritional Science and Home Economics) is head of the unit Lifestyle Related Disorders and project manager of the German IDEFICS survey and intervention. Her focus is on survey management and nutritional epidemiology (Breast Cancer and Diet in Tanzania; Exploratory Research Study on Selenium and HIV; Nutrition Baseline Survey in Guinea Bissau).
UGENT’s main tasks in IFamily:
As cohort centre UGENT will contribute to the cohort studies (WP2).
Description of the research unit:
The Nutrition and Food Safety Unit within the Department of Public Health of UGENT has a long experience in population based studies in the field of nutrition, collecting data on diet, lifestyle, anthropometry and biological parameters in a standardized way in different subgroups of the population.
Prof. Dr Stefaan De Henauw is the head of this research unit. He is a medical doctor with further degrees in Epidemiology, Public Health and Human Nutrition and a PhD in Public Health. He is full professor in Public Health Nutrition at UGENT, vice president of the Belgian Nutrition Society and Secretary of the FENS board. The unit further consists of two post-doctoral researchers, three dieticians and around five PhD-candidates.
UNIZAR staff members on I Family
Luis A. Moreno Aznar, PhD in Medicine, senior lecturer in the Faculty of Health Science in the University of Zaragoza. He is the Principal Investigator of the GENUD research group (Growth, Exercise, Nutrition and Development) at the University of Zaragoza. He is the PI for UNIZAR in I Family and was the project leader for IDEFICS in Spain. His research interests are in epidemiological studies of diet and obesity, and obesity prevention programs in children and adolescents.
María Isabel Mesana Graffe, PhD in Medicine and a Master degree in Nutrition and Diet Therapy in Children and Adolescents. She works as a researcher at the University of Zaragoza. Her research interests are in epidemiological studies of diet and obesity in children and adolescents, and obesity prevention programs. She is part of the I Family study in the University of Zaragoza.
Juan Miguel Fernández Alvira, MSc in Social and Health Sciences Methodology, psychologist, nutritionist, working as a researcher at GENUD research group, University of Zaragoza. His research interests are in epidemiological studies addressing inequalities in childhood obesity and the behavioral mediating variables explaining such inequalities.
Alba M Santaliestra-Pasías, PhD student in Nutrition, working as a researcher at University of Zaragoza (Spain). She is part of the I Family study group, and member of the diet panel member. Her research interests are in epidemiological studies of diet and physical activity, and obesity prevention programs.
Iris Iglesia Altaba, PhD student in Nutrition and registered dietitian in the University of Zaragoza, working as a researcher in the GENUD research group (Growth, Exercise, Nutrition and Development) for 7 years. Previously she worked in the IDEFICS study. She is a physical activity panel member and she coordinates the fieldwork in Zaragoza and Huesca I Family regions.
María L Miguel, MSc in Nutritional, environmental and genetic patterns in the child growth. Has experience in clinical work and catering since 2011. She works as a researcher in the Spanish I Family study.
Sara Estecha Querol, nutritionist at University of Zaragoza. She has a master degree in Public Health and is candidate of PhD in Eating Disorders. She is working as a researcher in Spain at I Family Study.
Tatiana Sadalla Collese, Nutritionist and MSc Candidate of Preventive Medicine at University of São Paulo, Brazil. She works as researcher in the I Family Study in Spain, and in the Canadian Study PURE (Prospective Urban and Rural Epidemiological Study). She has professional extension in Cardiology and Clinical Nutrition at Dante Pazzanese Institute of Cardiology; and has experience in Public Health, Nutritional Education, and Physical activity.
Isabel Iguacel, PhD in Health and Sport Sciences. She is currently working as a researcher in I.Family. She has a degree in nursing from UNIZAR and was a senior student in psychology at UNED, Madrid.
Pilar Meléndez Ruíz (Financial Administrator).