Announcing June BEMC Talk

Dear Berlin-area Epidemiological Methods Enthusiasts,

You are invited to our June BEMC events:

BEMC Talk: Wednesday, June 5th, 2019 @ 4pm

  • “Cool new applications in R for epidemiologists: optimize your programming”– Jochen Kruppa (Berlin)
  • Please register here
  • Description: ““The programming language R was original invented and written late in 1993. Since then, many new applications and packages have been added to the core code of R. The R Studio environment has been developed and helps the users to code in R. Still, R sometimes seems to be slow and very unstructured. The problem is twofold. First, young R scripts should be compatible with old R scripts, written a long time ago and second, users are not able to improve the R core code but to add packages to the R environment. In my talk, I will give an overview of the new implementations of faster and efficient programming in R. The focus will not be on pure applications, such as loading packages or running analyses; instead, I will focus on the crafting of R programming. Nowadays, R offers the possibilities to pipe code through functions and allows us to run parallel calculations in an easy manner. Writing and reading of code into R from different sources is very easy and can be plugged into the tidyverse. The talk will give a broad overview, introduce the R packages, and offer code chunks. The Rmarkdown script of the presentation will be sent to the audience. In an ideal world, you will be able to program better and have new ideas to improve your code after participation in my BEMC Talk.”
  • Location: Seminar room of the Neurology Clinic; Bonhoefferweg 3 entrance, 3rd floor, Charité – Campus Mitte

BEMC JClub: Wednesday, June 19th, 2019 @ 4pm

  • Paper will be posted online by June 1st
  • Location: Seminar room of the Neurology Clinic; Bonhoefferweg 3 entrance, 3rd floor, Charité – Campus Mitte

Other upcoming Epi happenings in Berlin:

  • July 3rd – BEMC Talk – “Pragmatic trials and lessons from venous thrombosis” – Suzanne Cannigieter, Leiden
  • July 19th – BEMC JClub
  • August – Summer Break – check out the summer 2019 BSPH short courses in advanced epi methods, medical informatics, applied digital health and mastering R.


Check out our website ( for the full schedule of all BEMC JClub and Talk events.

Follow us on Twitter and leave questions for our speakers: @BEMColloquium

Please note: Magdalen Gallagher, part of our BEMC organizing team, left the Charité at the end of May. We thank her for all her help behind the scenes to make the BEMC happen and wish her the best for the future! Please use our online contact form for any BEMC-related inquiries.

May BEMC Talk- Student summary

Dear BEMCers,

We are pleased to be able to share a summary prepared by a student. A warm thank you to the anonymous student for letting us share this recap.

On May 8th, Christoph Lippert, a Professor in the area of digital health and machine learning at the Hasso Plattner Institute and at the University Potsdam held a lecture on “Machine Learning for Population-Based Health Studies”. The starting point of this lecture was to show a graphical representation of a typical patient flow through a health care system. This includes a patient’s contact with the health care system due to some symptom. Later on, some tests will be carried out by a physician and, after a lengthy period, the patient will receive an invasive treatment. It can also be the case that it will eventually be too late for any treatment. The current procedure was compared with what it is expected to be a patient flow in the future, where an individual undergoes continuous monitoring for diseases (e.g. through genetic risk assessment). Thus, it is expected that an individual will constantly receive early warnings, which lead him/her to involve a doctor at an early stage. Christoph highlighted how machine learning has the potential to help moving from the current patient flow to a better one, where people know early on their risks for developing certain conditions and can act accordingly. He highlighted how genetic differences across individuals can shed light on an individual’s risk factors for diseases, thus allowing for better and more individualised treatment options. Christoph proceeded by explaining basic concepts about genome-wide association studies and their goal of finding causal variants and/or markers that explain variance. He provided several examples, such as how phenotypes and population structures are correlated. The discussion was heated and insightful. Several attendees pointed out the need to consider the ethical implications of using genetics to predict health conditions. It was also mentioned how genome testing is cheap but, on a population level, this data does not provide meaningful information (i.e.. on a public health perspective). Furthermore, a question left hanging in the air concerned the degree of impact of lifestyle factors versus genes on an individual’s health status.