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Rob M. van Dam, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School

Associate Epidemiologist, Department of Medicine
Brigham and Women's Hospital

Research Interests

Dr. van Dam's primary area of research is the study of lifestyle determinants and health consequences of obesity and type 2 diabetes. His research is based on large-scale cohort studies (Nurses' Health Study, Health Professionals Follow-up Study, Black Women's Health Study), dietary intervention studies, and systematic reviews. Research is conducted in collaboration with the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the Slone Epidemiology Center, and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Dietary patterns and dietary components in relation to risk of type 2 diabetes

Dr. van Dam is interested the role of dietary composition in the development of type 2 diabetes independent of energy balance. His research is focused on dietary patterns, foods and specific dietary components. He found for example that frequent coffee consumption was consistently associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes in various populations and that this link can not be explained by caffeine. An additional interest concerns the behavioral determinants of dietary patterns.

The interplay between genetic and lifestyle factors in relation to the development of type 2 diabetes and biochemical mediators of this relationship

This research is conducted using nested case-control studies of type 2 diabetes. Dr. van Dam also studies the role of vitamin D status and parathyroid hormone levels as possible mediators of the effects of diet on risk of type 2 diabetes and related disorders.

The health consequences of obesity

Dr. van Dam studies obesity and body fat distribution in relation to risk of type 2 diabetes and premature mortality.

Selected Publications

van Dam RM, Boer JMA, Feskens EFM, Seidel JC. Parental history of diabetes modifies the association between abdominal adiposity and hyperglycemia. Diabetes Care. 2001 Aug;24(8):1454-9. [abstract]

van Dam RM, Rimm EB, Willett WC, Stampfer MJ, Hu FB. Dietary patterns and risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus in U.S. men. Ann Intern Med. 2002 Feb 5;136(3):201-9. [abstract]

van Dam RM, Feskens EJM. Coffee consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Lancet. 2002 Nov 9;360(9344):1477-8. [abstract]

van Dam RM, Pasman WJ, Verhoef P. Effects of coffee consumption on fasting blood glucose and insulin concentrations: randomized controlled trials in healthy volunteers. Diabetes Care. 2004 Dec;27(12):2990-2.

Wijsman-Grootendorst A, van Dam RM. [The attitude of Dutch women of Turkish ancestry towards measures for the prevention and treatment of vitamin D deficiency; the results of focus group interviews]. Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2005 Apr 23;149(17):932-6. Dutch. [abstract]

van Dam RM, Hu FB. Coffee consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: a systematic review. JAMA. 2005 Jul 6;294(1):97-104. [abstract]

van Dam RM, Willett WC, Manson JE, Hu FB. The relationship between overweight in adolescence and premature death in women. Ann Intern Med. 2006 Jul 18;145(2):91-7. [abstract]

Qi L, van Dam RM, Meigs JB, Manson JE, Hunter D, Hu FB. Genetic variation in IL6 gene and type 2 diabetes: tagging-SNP haplotype analysis in large-scale case-control study and meta-analysis. Hum Mol Genet. 2006 Jun 1;15(11):1914-20. Epub 2006 Apr 27. [abstract]

Jeon CY, Lokken RP, Hu FB, van Dam RM. Physical activity of moderate intensity and risk of type 2 diabetes: a systematic review. Diabetes Care. 2007 Mar;30(3):744-52. [abstract]

van Dam RM, Snijder MB, Dekker JM, Stehouwer CDA, Bouter LM, Heine RJ, Lips P. Potentially modifiable determinants of vitamin D status in an older population in the Netherlands: the Hoorn Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Mar;85(3):755-761. [abstract]