dr. Niels van den Berg

Post doctoral researcher

  • Tel.: +31 (0) 71 526 9734

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  • Department of Molecular Epidemiology
    postzone S05-P
    P.O. Box 9600
    2300 RC LEIDEN

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I am trained as a Quantitative Sociologist and methodologist with a focus on statistics, methodology and family sociology. I followed my passion for studying families and statistics into my PhD (defense early 2020) which was on the intersection of the life sciences and social sciences. I studied the familial clustering and transmission of human longevity in thousands of families and made use of multiple extensive historical genealogical databases, such as the Utah Population Database, the LINKS, the Historical Sample of the Netherlands, and the Leiden Longevity Study which cover millions of individuals. I was embedded at the Radboud University in the group of prof. Angelique Janssens where I developed my expertise on the historical and social aspects of longevity and at the LUMC in the group of prof. Eline Slagboom where I learned about the genetic and molecular mechanisms of aging and longevity.

Currently I work in the section of Molecular Epidemiology (MOLEPI) on elucidating the complex longevity trait by combining information from family data with social, physiological and molecular data. MOLEPI is embedded in the department of biomedical data sciences, enabling me to closely work together with historians, statisticians, data scientist, biologists, and biomedical scientists and combine insights from all these different fields into strong multidisciplinary research on familial longevity and healthy aging.

Areas of interest and collaboration:

  • Multigenerational family studies
  • Demography
  • Genealogy
  • Social history
  • Healthy Ageing
  • Statistics
  • Genetics

Main Study populations:

Key scientific publications (Google Scholar):

  • van den Berg, N., Beekman, M., Smith, K. R., Janssens, A., & Slagboom, P. E. (2017). Historical demography and longevity genetics: Back to the future. Ageing Research Reviews38, 28–39. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.arr.2017.06.005
  • van den Berg, N., Rodríguez-Girondo, M., van Dijk, I. K., Mourits, R. J., Mandemakers, K., Janssens, A. A. P. O., … Slagboom, P. E. (2019). Longevity defined as top 10% survivors and beyond is transmitted as a quantitative genetic trait. Nature Communications10(1), 35. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-07925-0
  • van den Berg, N., Rodriguez-Girondo, M., Mandemakers, K., Janssens, A. A. P. O., Beekman, M., & Slagboom, P. E. (2019). Longevity Relatives Count score defines heritable longevity carriers and suggest case improvement in genetic studies. BioRxivhttps://doi.org/10.1101/609891


Key press publications (Google Scholar):

 Lang leven vooral door lang levende moeder, NOS website: 27-03-2018

Meer dan 100? Dat is te danken aan de moeder, NRC: 02-04-2018

Soundcloud: Zeeuwse Kamer over het geheim van oud worden, Omroep Zeeland: 14-01-2019

Altmetric 53574137: longevity defined as top 10% survivors is transmitted as a quantitative genetic trait