Research & Team

With her research group, consisting of 20 MSc, PhD and postdoctoral students, Trudy studies the role of nutrition in health throughout the life-course.
Studies include systematic reviews and meta-analyses, and research in several large cohort studies, such as the Generation R Study and the Rotterdam Study.

Research topics

  • Dietary patterns in pregnancy, infancy and childhood
  • Vitamin D status and health
  • Nutrition and gut microbiome composition
  • Adiposity and type 2 diabetes
  • Nutrition, DNA methylation, and cardiometabolic health

PhD thesis Trudy VoortmanPhD Thesis

Nutrition in early life

In her thesis, Trudy Voortman showed that diet quality and vitamin D status in early childhood are suboptimal. She also observed that a better overall diet quality in early childhood, a lower protein intake in infancy, and higher levels of n-3 fatty acids during fetal life may be beneficial for childhood body composition and cardiometabolic health.

Trudy’s PhD thesis can be found at the website of Erasmus University:

PhD Thesis

Research is teamwork!

Meet some of the postdocs and PhD students in Trudy’s team below. Interested in working with us? Get in touch!

Kim V.E. Braun, RD, PhD

Nutrition and epigenetics

Kim Braun is a postdoctoral scientist with expertise in nutrition, DNA methylation, and cardiometabolic health. Kim has a background in dietetics (RD), health sciences (MSc), and genetic epidemiology (DSc). She finished her PhD on nutrition and epigenetics in our team in 2018.

Kim also works as visiting scholar at the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health. Her PhD was partly funded from a grant from Metagenics Inc. on the role of epigenetics and nutrition in cardiometabolic health (PI: Dehghan, co-PI Voortman). Her research visit to Harvard was funded from a grant from the European Study for the Association of Diabetes (PI: Braun).

Vincent Jen, MSc

Childhood Obesity

The aim of Vincent Jen’s research is to study the role of nutrition in body composition in children. In his studies, he is particularly  focusing on carbohydrate and protein intake. Vincent is combining an MD program with an MSc program in Epidemiology.

Vincent Jen’s research at Erasmus MC is partly funded by a grant from Nestle on nutrition and body composition in childhood (PI: Voortman). For his paper on sugar-containing beverages during pregnancy and child adiposity, Vincent received the 2016 Student Award from the Netherlands Epidemiology Society (VvE). In 2017, Vincent worked as visiting researcher at the Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences, for which he obtained the prestigious Ter Meulen grant (PI: Jen).

Anh Nhi Nguyen, MSc

Dietary patterns in childhood

Anh Nhi Nguyen’s research focuses on diet quality during pregnancy, infancy, and childhood. She studies determinants of diet in these life stages, and associations of diet in early life with several health outcomes in childhood, such as bone health, body composition, and allergies.

Anh Nhi has a background in Healthy Sciences (MSc) and Epidemiology (MSc) and is currently finalizing a DSc in Epidemiology. Anh Nhi Nguyen’s current PhD research is funded partly by grants from Nestle/Nestec Inc. on nutrition and child body composition (PI: Voortman, Schoufour) and from the Thrasher Research fund for pediatric medical research (PI: Voortman).

Zhangling Chen, MD, PhD

Gut microbiome and type 2 diabetes

Zhangling Chen recently finalized her PhD research on the role of nutrition and gut microbiome composition in the development of type 2 diabetes. This includes not only incident type 2 diabetes but also early stages of diabetes, such as insulin resistance, prediabetes, and adiposity. Most of her research is embedded in the Rotterdam Study cohorts.

Zhangling obtained her Master’s degree in Clinical Medicine at Central South University in China worked as medical doctor in China before starting her PhD in Rotterdam. Zhangling Chen’s PhD research was supported by a China Scholarship Council (CSC) grant (PI: Chen). She will continue with her research on diet and gut microbiome as part-time postdoctoral scientist funded by an ISIC grant (PI: Voortman).

Carolina Ochoa Rosales, MSc

Epigenetics and type 2 diabetes

Carolina’s research focuses on epigenetic, metabolic, and lifestyle determinants of type 2 diabetes. She performed several epigenome-wide association studies (EWAS) on diabetes risk factors. Her studies are embedded in the Rotterdam Study and in several collaborations with other studies in consortia.

Carolina Ochoa Rosales has a background in Biochemistry (BSc), Health Administration (MSc) and Genetic Epidemiology (MSc(c)). Previously, she worked as a research assistant in Chile. Carolina’s PhD research at Erasmus MC is funded by the scholarship program Becas Chile from the Chilean Ministry of Education.

Audry H. Garcia, MD, MSc, DScAudry Garcia

Early-life nutrition & child bone health

Audry studies nutritional factors in early life and its relation with child bone health and body composition. Most of her studies are embedded in the Generation R Study. She showed for example that maternal vitamin D status during pregnancy is not independently associated with child bone health and that child vitamin D status may be more important.

Audry is a medical doctor (MD) and previously worked as pediatrician in Colombia. Audry Garcia’s research at Erasmus MC is funded by a scholarship from the Colombian government.