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Profile image Arfan Ikram

M.A. (Arfan) Ikram

Head of department

Professor and Chair of the department Epidemiology

  • Department
  • Epidemiology
  • Focus area
  • investigate the etiology of dementia, Alzheimer disease and cognitive decline



I am Professor and Chair of Epidemiology at the department of Epidemiology, Erasmus MC Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
I am also adjunct professor of Epidemiology at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health.
And I am principal investigator of the Rotterdam Study and a key collaborator in the CHARGE (Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology) consortium.


My research focuses on investigating:

- the etiology of dementia
- Alzheimer disease
- cognitive decline


The main areas

of research are to elucidate the earliest signs of brain diseases, before clinical symptoms are present, and to understand how these lead to clinical manifestation of disease. Moreover, I am interested in preclinical signs that can be used to identify persons at highest risk of developing disease.



To this aim I have used data from the large populationbased Rotterdam Study and Rotterdam Scan Study that have followed nearly 15,000 persons for a period of nearly 30 years.


Research focus

An area of focus on my research has been the use of MRI-imaging to understand brain disease. Also, I have used neuropsychological testing, genome-wide, exome chip, DNA-methylation and sequencing technologies, and recently electronic gait assessments. Not only am I interested in how these pre-clinical markers lead to clinical disease, I also want to disentangle the intricate relationships between these markers.

Field(s) of expertise

Alzheimer's disease

Education and career

2003: MSc in Medicine
2003: MSc in Clinical Epidemiology
2005: MD degree
2009: PhD in Neuro-epidemiology

Teaching activities

ESP01: Princinples of Research in Epidemiology and Medicine
CE01:   Clinical Translation of Epidemiology
EPI210 (Harvard): Study Design in Clinical Epidemiology

Other positions

Adjunct professor of Epidemiology, Harvard Chan School of Public Health