Complexity and Big Data

Health is a complex phenomenon and the aim of the research group is to study the social and biological factors determining health and disease and to elucidate the underlying behavioral, psychological, and physiological mechanisms that might explain these effects. The research group works with large national and international datasets and benefits from the unique ability to link different registers in Denmark. The group includes researchers with different scientific backgrounds and employs a wide variety of epidemiological research methods. To embrace complexity in Epidemiology we actively explore new data sources (e.g. Smartphones and GPS), incorporate systems thinking and leverage the knowledge across disciplines. We also aim at bridging the flexibility and insights obtained from artificial intelligence methods with the rigor and theoretical foundation of causal inference.

Our research is guided by the following objectives:

  • Investigating health consequences of the accumulation of social adversity across the life span and identifying sensitive periods and vulnerable groups of individuals
  • Documenting the public health problems related to smartphone interrupted sleep and investigating if smartphone interrupted sleep results in a disruption of our basic biological rhythms
  • Investigating positive organizational and work environment factors that may protect the worker and promote health and well-being
  • Investigating the physiological, behavioral and psychological mechanism that can explain the link between social adversity, stress and health outcomes

Our current research covers the health effects of the following:

We are also involved in method development:

We are responsible for the Danish Life Course Cohort Study (DANLIFE) and the Well-being in Hospital Employee (WHALE) cohort.

Group leader: Professor Naja Hulvej Rod 


Professor Naja Hulvej Rod 
Assistant Professor Nadya Dich 
Assistant Professor Alice Jessie Clark Lyth 
Assistant Professor Tri-Long Nguyen
Postdoc Agnete Dissing
Postdoc Andreas Rieckmann
PhD student Eszter Török 
PhD student Tianwei Xu 
PhD student Jessica Bengtsson
Research Assistant Mathias Pinto Bonnesen


The group is a partner in the Copenhagen Stress Research Centre and the Integrated Datasets for Research on Ageing (IDEAR) network.