Announcing July BEMC Talk

Dear Berlin-area Epidemiological Methods Enthusiasts,

You are invited to our next BEMC Talk on Wednesday, July 3rd.

BEMC Talk: Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019 @ 4pm

Title: “Epidemiology as a toolbox to benefit the patient” – Suzanne Cannegieter, Leiden, Netherlands

  • Please register online:
  • Description: “In this lecture, I will discuss how the methods and techniques that we have learned as epidemiologists are applied to many different aspects of medical science. It is, however, not always clear how individual patients benefit from the large number of studies that are performed. From examples of my own research and the literature I will demonstrate how such knowledge eventually evolves from etiologic research into risk factors, via prognostic research in which all this knowledge is combined, toward therapeutic research in which optimal preventive or treatment strategies are developed. Finally I will discuss some pitfalls, and the effects they can have on this type of epidemiologic research.
  • Location: Seminar room 3 (of the Neurology Clinic); Bonhoefferweg 3 entrance, Charité – Campus Mitte

Upcoming Berlin Epi Events:

  • July- no JClub!
  • August 2019 – no BEMC Talk or JClub
  • September 4th – BEMC Talk – Malcolm Barrett **Location change for September BEMC Talk: Campus Virchow Clinic**
  • September 18th – BEMC JClub – Paper will be posted online
  • October 2nd – BEMC JClub – Paper will be posted online
  • Wednesday, October 23rd – IPH Lecture Partner event– John Gill from Vancouver

Interested in other Institute of Public Health events? Visit our calendar to check out upcoming conferences & short courses!

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

June JClub

Don’t miss our June JClub! As usual, it will be held at 4pm on the 3rd Wednesday of the month in the usual location (Bonhoefferweg 3, Charité Campus Mitte Berlin, Neurology Seminar room).

June 19th

  • Tipton E, Pustejovsky JE, Ahmadi H. A history of meta-regression: Technical, conceptual, and practical developments between 1974 and 2018. Res Synth Methods [Internet]. 2018 Dec 27.

PS: BEMC fashion is really taking off! 😉


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.

Lars Andersen, Time-dependent propensity scores: an application

Dear BEMCers,

This month, we are sharing a summary prepared by a student earning credit for the BEMC together with a photo. Thanks to the student, who prefers to remain anonymous!

This past Wednesday, Lars Andersen from Aarhus, Denmark, lectured on the use of time-dependent propensity score matching to address changes of treatment and covariates over time at the BEMC. After giving a general outline, Andersen introduced the immortal time bias as well as the related concept of “resuscitation bias” and explained how the latter can be avoided using risk set matching. As time-variant confounding remains an issue in the analysis phase, Lars Andersen introduced time-dependent propensity score matching as a strategy to deal with such a challenge.

As a clinician, Andersen explained how the nature of his clinical field and research questions inform his methodological choices. To illustrate these methods, Andersen elaborated on one of his papers dealing with tracheal intubation during cardiac arrests. In the paper, the authors could demonstrate that intubation lowered the chance of survival in an analysis using time-dependent propensity score matching while the unadjusted analysis revealed the opposite.


See you in March!

End of 2018: wrap-up

A big thanks to all of our fantastic speakers and of course, our engaged Berlin-area epidemiology community for another great year of BEMC! Here a few impressions from the last several months. We just finalized our 2019 BEMC Talks line-up. Next year, we’re bringing in epi talent from Aarhus, Leiden, Boston, Berlin, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Toulouse, & Tirol. Check out the ‘Talks’ tab. Wishing you a relaxing last few days off and, of course, guten Rutsch!

-Jess, Magdalen, Bob & Tobias

July 18th: Next BEMC JClub

Dear friends of the BEMC,

Please join us for one last journal club before the summer break.

We’ll be reading:

Hernán MA, Robins JM. Using Big Data to Emulate a Target Trial When a Randomized Trial Is Not Available. Am J Epidemiol. 2016 Apr 15;183(8):758–64.

We will meet next week Wednesday, July 18th at 4pm at our usual location (Click here for all details and to send in your questions/comments on the paper in advance).

See you there!

Here’s a picture from the July 4th BEMC Talk- thanks to all who joined us and to Prof. Rose for a great talk!

Image uploaded from iOS (1).jpg

Announcing June BEMC Talk

Dear Berlin-area Epidemiological Methods Enthusiasts,

We are happy to announce our next BEMC Talk. Hope you can join us!

BEMC Talk: Wednesday, June 6th, 2018 @ 4pm

“Post-marketing studies and drug safety” – Dr. Christof Prugger (Berlin)

  • If you haven’t already done so, please register in advance:
  • Description: “Drugs should be effective and safe, also in the long-term widespread use. Therefore, it is important for the efficacy and safety of medications to be demonstrated also after approval in so-called post-marketing studies (PMS). PMS should add to pharmacovigilance by assessing the risks and benefits of authorized drugs under real life conditions. This BEMC talk will focus on the current practice of PMS in Germany and Europe. It will emphasize methodological aspects of drug safety evaluation.”
  • Location: Seminar room of the Neurology Clinic (follow our signs); Bonhoefferweg 3 entrance, 3rd floor, Charité – Campus Mitte, à See: Campus Map

Upcoming Berlin Epi Events:

  • June 8th @ 5pm – BSPH Jahresabschlussfeier (in German, all welcome to attend)
  • June 20th @ 4pm – BEMC JClub  – Paper will be posted online in early June
  • July 4th @ 4pm – BEMC Talk  –  “Applications of computer adapted testing and item response theory in health outcomes assessment” – Prof. Matthias Rose, Berlin – Register here
  • August 20-24th –IPH Intensive Short Course – “Advanced Epidemiologic Methods – causal research and prediction modeling” (Instructors: Rolf Groenwold/Maarten van Smeden) – Register here