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Research group/lab

Causal Inference Group

The Causal Inference Group works to improve the use and transparency of methods for estimating causal effects in epidemiology.

About our research group/lab

Our research

Asking Causal Questions

Much of our research focuses on clearly articulating the causal effect we wish to estimate: that is, asking good causal questions. To do this, we embrace the concept of “target trial emulation” in our methodologic development and our applications. Members of our group work on a diverse set of applied questions, ranging from how prenatal exposures affect offspring health to whether later-life interventions can meaningfully reduce the risk of dementia. We also regularly collaborate with other applied research groups at Erasmus MC and internationally.


Developing Causal Inference Methods

Our group also develops new methods or improves upon existing methods for estimating causal effects. For example, we have developed sensitivity analyses, extended existing falsification strategies, and proposed a coherent framework for Mendelian randomization analyses.


Teaching Epidemiologic Methods

Since a core component of our mission is on increasing the transparency of causal inference methods, we also work a lot on improving how these methods are taught to epidemiologists and other data scientists. To this end, for example, we have written editorials reflecting on the placement of causal graphs and on target trial emulation concepts in the epidemiology curriculum.

Funding & Grants

We are grateful to have received funding support from the Dutch Research Council (ZonMW) and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).

Career opportunities

Interested in working with us? Please contact us to hear about the latest opportunities.

Our team

Principal Investigator:

Sonja Swanson, Sc.D.

Associate Professor



Post Doc:

Jeremy Labrecque, postdoctoral fellow, j.labrecque@erasmusmc.nl


PhD students:

Elizabeth Diemer, PhD candidate, e.diemer@erasmusmc.nl

L. Paloma Rojas Saunero, PhD candidate, l.rojassaunero@erasmusmc.nl


Research assistant:

Kelly Guo, research assistant, k.guo@erasmusmc.nl