Who we are

Erasmus MC, Department of Public Health

Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam, is the largest University Medical Center of the Netherlands, with around 14,000 staff members. Its mission is to contribute to a healthy population and to excellence in health care through research and education. Its research portfolio includes clinical research, biomedical research, and health science research. The Department of Public Health has around 150 staff members, and its main goal is to support evidence-based public health through research and education.

Professor Harry de Koning, MD

The project will be coordinated by Professor Harry de Koning. He is Professor of Public Health & screening evaluation at the Department of Public Health at Erasmus MC. His major scientific contributions are in the areas of (1) designing, running and evaluating large-scale multidisciplinary population-based randomised controlled screening trials to establish the efficacy of screening, (2) evaluating active international screening programmes and tests to establish effectiveness and (3) guiding public health policies using predictions of favourable and unfavourable effects and the cost of screening, based on micro-simulation modelling of the natural history of disease, and cost-effectiveness and cost-utility analyses.

Marjolein van Ballegooijen, MD

After completing her PhD on costs and effects of cervical cancer screening she amongst others extended her field of work to colorectal and oesophageal cancer screening and surveillance, and to integrated individualized multi disease screening. She is experienced in public policy issues. Her specific knowledge concerns simulation based (with the MISCAN model) analyses towards recommendations for Dutch and international policy makers and for medical professionals.

Iris Lansdorp-Vogelaar

The work package on model development (WP4) is coordinated by Iris Lansdorp-Vogelaar, PhD. She is Assistant Professor of Screening Evaluation and responsible for the section of early detection of colorectal and esophageal cancer of the Department of Public Health. She has been responsible for the management and development of the MISCAN-Colon model since 2003, and the UW-MISCAN esophagus model since its initiation in 2010. Her modelling work informed the 2008 US Preventive Services Task Force recommendations, US Medicare reimbursement decisions on computed tomographic colonograpy (CTC) and Stool DNA screening and the Dutch national colorectal cancer screening program. She is a member of the European Cancer Network and lead author of a chapter in the European Guidelines for Quality Assurance in Colorectal Cancer Screening. Her current research further focuses on explaining colorectal cancer disparities, on individualizing colorectal cancer screening and surveillance recommendations.

Nicolien van Ravesteyn

The work package on evaluation and optimization of harms and benefits of screening (WP 5) will be coordinated by Nicolien van Ravesteyn, PhD. Since 2008, she is employed as a researcher at the Department of Public Health, where she evaluates the effect of breast cancer screening using the microsimulation model MISCAN-Fadia. An important part of her research has been performed within the Cancer Intervention and Surveillance Modeling Network (CISNET). Her modelling work informed the 2009 & 2016 US Preventive Services Task Force recommendations for breast cancer screening and she performed analyses for CDC to help them make decisions on how to respond to a change from film to digital mammography in the NBCCEDP (a program that provides access to breast cancer screening to underserved women). Her current research includes evaluating new screening modalities, such as tomosynthesis and ultrasound for women with dense breasts, more individualized screening, and modelling different molecular subtypes of breast cancer.

Eveline Heijnsdijk

is senior researcher in WP4, 5 and 8. She is working for 6 years as Post-doc in the Department of Public Health, especially on evaluating the harms and benefits of breast cancer screening and prostate cancer screening. She has extensive experience in modelling the natural history of breast cancer and prostate cancer and the effects of screening on the life histories. She is a member of the Cancer Intervention and Screening Network (CISNET) group.

Inge de Kok

The work package on capacity building (WP8) will be coordinated by Inge de Kok. Her area of expertise is the evaluation of costs and effects of medical interventions (i.e. cervical cancer screening, HPV vaccination, screening for abdominal aortic aneurysms) by using the MISCAN model. This expertise is reflected in her thesis, entitled ‘Vaccination and screening for the prevention of cervical cancer: health effects and cost-effectiveness’, as well as in publications in a variety of medical scientific journals including the British Medical Journal and the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. This work has also had impact on the practice of the Dutch national cervical cancer-screening program (change in age range and interval for screening rounds, introduction of HPV vaccination and change towards primary HPV-testing).

Nadine Zielonke

As a demographer and former manager of the Austrian National Cancer Register she has a vast experience in epidemiological research and analysis (on cancer incidence, mortality, prevalence and survival). EU-TOPIA offers her the scope for her PhD research on the evaluation and optimization of breast cancer screening in Europe. Therefore she will develop and validate microsimulation models for each country to determine the long-term health outcomes, benefits, harms and costs of breast cancer screening.

Erik Jansen, Msc

is PhD student at Erasmus MC. He graduated in Health Sciences in Maastricht (2008). His PhD project focuses on the effect of cervical cancer screening in Europe, using both collected and modelled data.

Andrea Gini, Msc

is PhD student at Erasmus MC. He graduated in Statistics in Padua (2012). His PhD project is focused on the evaluation and optimization of colorectal cancer screening in Europe, using validate simulation models.

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine is Europe’s leading school of public health and a leading postgraduate institution worldwide for research and postgraduate education in global health. Part of the University of London, the London School is the largest institution of its kind in Europe with a remarkable depth and breadth of expertise encompassing many disciplines. The School has about 1400 staff drawn from over 60 nationalities. There are research collaborations with over 100 countries throughout the world, utilizing our critical mass of multidisciplinary expertise which includes clinicians, epidemiologists, statisticians, social scientists, molecular biologists, immunologists, ophthalmologists, anthropologists, virologists, pharmacologists and nutritionists.

Professor Martin McKee

The work package on barriers is coordinated by Martin McKee, PhD. Martin McKee is Professor of European Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine where he was founding director of the European Centre on Health of Societies in transition, a WHO Collaborating Centre, and is also Director of Research Policy at the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies. His research interests are in health systems and policy research, drawing on a range of quantitative and qualitative methods. He is committed to knowledge transfer, seeking to ensure that his research impacts on policy. He is a former chair of the WHO European Advisory Committee on Health Research, a member of the European Commission’s Expert Panel on Investing on Health, and chair of the Global Health Advisory Committee of the Open Society Foundations (New York).

Jennifer Priaulx, MPH

is a Research Fellow at the London School of Hygiene  and Tropical Medicine.  She has a background in health technology assessment, including systematic reviewing and health economics, and qualitative research in multiple therapy areas. She is initially working on Work Package 6 to identify and analyse the barriers to effective screening programmes.

Finnish Cancer Registry

The partner providing scientific expertise shall be the Finnish Cancer Registry (FCR). The legal entity for the FCR is Suomen Syöpäyhdistys ry – the Cancer Society of Finland, which is a major player in the area of cancer research funding in Finland. It is a non-governmental, non-profit organisation on cancer control and care and other relevant public-health and patient-oriented aspects on cancer. The Cancer Society of Finland is technically maintaining the Finnish Cancer Registry, which is one of the legally defined national health care registers. The cancer registry database itself is part of the official national health care registers and is owned by the Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare (THL), and the Cancer Society maintains the FCR based on the contractual agreements with the THL. The cancer registration consists, in addition to the general registration of cancer cases and related statistical and epidemiological research on cancer, also on the registration of the national organised cancer screening programmes. The Mass Screening Registry, being a unit within the Finnish Cancer Registry, is in charge of the registration and evaluation of the cancer screening programmes. It also conceives and develops ideas on organising research proposals and quality development over the field, both on the national and international level.

Ahti Anttila, PhD

The work package on key indicators and benchmarks is coordinated by Ahti Anttila. He is a cancer epidemiologist and the Research Director of the Mass Screening Registry at the Finnish Cancer Registry, Helsinki, and Adjunct Professor of Epidemiology at the School of Health Sciences, University of Tampere, Finland. Before, he worked as a researcher at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki. His research interests are in evaluation of cancer screening, and in occupational and environmental risks of cancer. Since starting at the cancer registry in 1997, he has worked in a large number of European networks and research projects on cancer screening.

Nea Malila, MD PhD

is the director of the Finnish Cancer Registry (FCR) since January 2013. Before that (2005-2012) she was the director of the Mass Screening Registry, which is part of the FCR. She has been involved in planning and implementing the colorectal cancer randomized screening programme in Finland since 2004. She is having a part time post as professor of cancer epidemiology at the School of Health Sciences, University of Tampere since 2008.

Tytti Sarkeala, PhD

is the Director of Mass Screening in the Finnish Cancer Registry (FCR) since 2013. She has worked as a researcher at the FCR since 2001. Her research topics are related to cancer epidemiology and evaluation of cancer screening programs. She is also involved in registration and monitoring of the organized cancer screening in Finland.

Sirpa Heinävaara, D.Soc.Sc

is a senior researcher at the Finnish Cancer Registry (FCR). She has worked on evaluation of cancer screening, primarily for breast cancer, since 2013. Her research interests are in cancer and radiation epidemiology.

Ilona Siljander, BSc

is MSc student at the Finnish Cancer Registry (FCR). Her Master’s Thesis focuses on the cumulative probability of false positive results in the Finnish breast cancer screening program.

Maiju Pankakoski, M. Soc. Sc

is PhD student at the Finnish Cancer Registry (FCR). Her PhD project focuses on the effectiveness of cervical cancer screening in Finland.

AOU Città della Salute e della Scienza, CPO Piemonte, Torino

“AOU Città della Salute e della Scienza di Torino” University Hospital, with about twelve thousand employees, is the largest health centre in Italy and provides diagnosis, treatment and care in many sectors, focusing on multidisciplinary approaches that ensure appropriate and high quality care. It consists of six Hospitals: “Molinette”, “Dermatologico San Lazzaro”, “San Giovanni Antica Sede”, “CTO-Maria-Adelaide”, “Ospedale Infantile Regina Margherita” and “Sant’Anna”.  It includes CPO Piemonte, the regional population Cancer Registry and the Department of Cancer Screening of the city of Turin, in charge of co-ordinating the implemention of the Regional Screening Programme for breast, cervical and colorectal cancer and quality assurance.

Carlo Senore

is Epidemiologist. The work package on monitoring maps is coordinated by Carlo Senore. Carlo Senore has extensive experience in design, implementation and analysis of randomized trials evaluating screening and primary prevention interventions, development of clinical guidelines and implementation of quality control projects aimed at assessing quality of treatment of colorectal cancer.

His research activity focused on the evaluation of different CRC screening strategies (collaboration in the design, coordination, implementation and analysis of several multicenter trials – SCORE, SCORE 2, SCORE 3, Proteus)  and on integration of screening and primary prevention (collaboration in the design, implementation and analysis of a randomized trial assessing the impact of life-style interventions).

Antonio Ponti

is Principal investigator within the Italian Ministry of Health Project on the implementation of a National Data Warehouse of population based cancer screening and Coordinator of the Working Group on Ductal Carcinoma in Situ of the International Cancer Screening Network. Since 2011 he is invited member by the US National Cancer Institute of the Commission for the evaluation of grant applications in the field of population oncology screening. Since 2013 PI of the project funded by The European Commission through IARC on “The second report on screening implementation in Europe”.

Nereo Segnan

is chief of Unit of Cancer Epidemiology and Director of Dept. of Screening, CPO, Turin, Italy. He has a vast experience in conducting national and international epidemiological research. Co-ordinator of breast, cervix and colorectal cancer screening programs in the Piedmont Region. Editor and co-author of Quality assurance guidelines for cervical cancer screening and of Quality assurance guidelines for colorectal cancer screening, in collaboration with IARC and the Oxford University, funded by EC.

Institute of Oncology Ljubljana

Institute of Oncology Ljubljana is a public health institution providing health services on the secondary and tertiary levels as well as performing educational and research activities in oncology in Slovenia. It was founded in 1938. As a principal national institution, the Institute supervises programs on the comprehensive management of cancer diseases in terms of prevention, early detection, diagnostics, treatment and rehabilitation, research and education.

Its unit Epidemiology and Cancer Registry consists of the Cancer Registry of the Republic of Slovenia (established in 1950), the Hospital-Based Cancer Registry of the Institute of Oncology Ljubljana, the epidemiology unit, and screening units with the registries ZORA (national organised cervical cancer screening program) and DORA (national organized breast cancer screening program).

Maja Primic Žakelj, Assoc. Prof.

is a cancer epidemiology specialist since 1991, doctor of science in the field of cancer epidemiology since 1995 and a public health specialist since 2010. She works at the Institute of Oncology Ljubljana for more than 30 years, where she is the head of the Epidemiology and Cancer Registries Unit since 2003; before the merging of both departments she was the head of the Epidemiology Unit since 1996. She is constantly upgrading her professional competences by attending postgraduate courses in Slovenia and abroad, not only in the field of cancer epidemiology, but also in the field of health management, statistics and information technologies.

Her main domain of research is cancer descriptive and analytical epidemiology, organisation of population-based organised cancer screening programs.

Urška Ivanuš

is a medical doctor with post-gradual specialisation in public health with emphasis on cancer epidemiology and cancer screening. She is a director of the Slovenian national cervical cancer screening programme and head of Department for cancer screening at the Institute of Oncology Ljubljana since 2018. She is leading an innovative project for the renewal of cervical cancer screening information system, which will on daily basis connect all professionals, involved in cervical cancer screening and will enable a risk-based management of women as well as computer-assisted clinical decisions. She is completing her PhD study on HPV-self sampling in non-responders.

Katja Jarm

graduated as medical doctor at the Universitiy of Ljubljana, Slovenia, and afterwards finished her specialisation as public health specialist in 2012. She works at the Institute of Oncology Ljubljana as an epidemiologist in Slovenian breast cancer screening programme DORA. She is involved in the managing unit for the roll-out process of national breast screening programme throughout the whole country.

Dominika Novak Mlakar

completed her studies at the Faculty of Medicine in Ljubljana in 1998. Since 2008 she has been a specialist in public health. She started her career in Community Health Centre Ljubljana where she has been actively involved in smoking cessation programs. Following examples from abroad, she established first Slovenian smoking cessation telephone counselling (helpline) in 2006.

In 2006, she participated in the preparation of documents for the establishment of the colorectal cancer screening programme, Program Svit, and has been involved in the programme implementation at the national level since 2009. Since 2009, she has been employed at the Institute of Public Health of the Republic of Slovenia, today the National Institute of Public Health. She is actively involved in Svit Program Central Unit coordination and works closely with colonoscopists and histopathologists involved in the implementation of the screening programme. In 2017, the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Slovenia nominated her as the colorectal cancer screening programme director.

National Institute for Health Development

National Institute for Health Development in Estonia (Tervise Arengu Instiuut, TAI) is an agency of the Ministry of Social Affairs and is responsible for implementing and monitoring the majority of the state prevention programs. TAI is the site of all health registries in Estonia, including the Estonian Cancer Registry and the central electronic Estonian Cancer Screening Registry, established in 2016. The Institute has the leading role in implementing the National Cancer Plan and is in charge of all the cancer screening programs in Estonia. The National Institute for Health Development has a multidisciplinary research environment, with many senior researchers available for consultation. It has active research collaboration with academic institutions in Estonia and abroad with special expertise in cancer research, and is equipped with modern IT and laboratory facilities.

Piret Veerus

is a senior researcher at the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the National Institute for Health Development in Tallinn, Estonia, and serves as a practicing gynaecologist at the West Tallinn Central Hospital. She is a member of the board of experts for the Estonian cancer screening programs since 2004, and participated in several international European cervical cancer screening projects (Member of the European Network for Indicators on Cancer (EUNICE) 2005-2007; Member of Eurochip-2 Task Force of Cervical Screening 2003-2007; Leader of Eurochip-3 WP6 on Cancer Patient Rehabilitation Indicators, member of Eurochip-3 WP4 on Cervical Cancer Screening 2008-2011). Since 2012, she is the project lead for the establishment of the Estonian Cancer Screening Registry. Her international scientific research has been focused on cervical cancer screening and women’s health. From 2009 to 2012, she has been the member of the board of the Estonian Gynaecologists’ Society, and is the member of the same board again from 2016.

Tiina Mändla

is a senior analyst at the Estonian Cancer Screening Registry. She received her MSc degree (public health and epidemiology) in 2012 in University of Tartu. She started working full time at the National Institute for Health Development in 2013 and has been involved in planning and developing the Estonian Cancer Screening Registry since then. She is currently leading the Estonian Cancer Screening Registry and responsible for breast cancer screening data completeness.

Syreon Research Institute

Syreon Research Institute is an independent research institute; it is classified as a small and medium-sized enterprise. Syreon Research Institute performs economic evaluations not only of pharmaceutical interventions but of complex public health interventions as well. One of its team members (Zoltán Vokó, medical director) is a leading public health expert in Hungary, not only with academic background but he also served as one of the leaders of the Hungarian Public Health Program as director for public health in the Ministry of Health and later as the director for the National Institute of Health Development. The combination of the public health and health economic expertise within Syreon Research Institute makes it an optimal partner in the consortium to participate in the evaluation of the different screening programs and as a key partner for coordinating capacity building in Eastern Europe.

Zoltán Vokó

The work package on the development of road maps is coordinated by Zoltán Vokó , PhD. Zoltán Vokó is a graduate of Semmelweis University of Medicine, Budapest (MD, 1994) Erasmus University Rotterdam (MSc in epidemiology, 1996; PhD in epidemiology, 2000). In 2003 he got his license in preventive medicine and public health, and habilitated at the University of Debrecen in 2004. In 2014 he became a doctor of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. He worked as a trainee in neurology in 1994-1997 at the National Stroke Centre in Budapest, and later as an academic researcher and as a government official in the Ministry of Health (head of department of information policy, 2003; director for public health, 2004). In 2009 he became the medical director of Syreon Research Institute. Between Q2 2012- Q2 2013 he worked as the Director of the National Institute for Health Development of Hungary. Since Q3 2013 he has been working again at Eötvös Loránd University as a Co-director of the Health Policy, Planning and Financing MSc programme, and since August 2014 as the head of the Health Policy & Health Economics Department. Since 2011 he has been the chair of the Public Health Division of the Hungarian Professional College of Health Care.

János G. Pitter

graduated from the Semmelweis Medical University as a Medical Doctor (1999), and after 5 years in cellular physiology research he received a PhD scientific degree (Semmelweis University, Theoretical Medical Sciences). He completed the 1-year Pharmacoeconomics and Pharmaceutical Policy postgraduate program at Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE) in 2012. He worked for 10 years in the pharmaceutical industry, with experience in clinical development, regulatory submissions, scientific advices and referral procedures. He was the head of a department responsible for project management and product differentiation for 3 years. He works at Syreon Research Institute as principal researcher from March 2014, and is the head of European Collaborative Research department.

Marcell Csanádi

received his BSc in Management from the Budapest University of Technology and Economics. He completed the Health Policy, Planning and Financing MSc program at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest. He joined to Syreon Research Institute (SRI) in 2013 as a trainee. After receiving his MSc degree he joined to SRI full time and since than mainly working on projects related to health policy and health care financing. He also work in the department of EU projects and strategic development at SRI. He was a board member of BME College for Advanced Management Studies and currently a senior member.

Kata Csetneki (MSc)

graduated from the Semmelweis University of Budapest in 2013 as a Health Promotion Manager. She received her MSc degree in 2015 in Health Policy Planning and Financing at the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest. She completed her internship at Pfizer Inc. at the Department of Market Access. Right after her graduation, she started working full time at Syreon Research Institute.

György Széles

is a graduate of University School of Medicine, Debrecen (MD, 1996) London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of London Union (MSc in Communicable Diseases Epidemiology, 1997; PhD in Public Health and Preventive Medicine, 2005). In 2003 he got his license in preventive medicine and public health. He started his career as an academic researcher at the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health in 1996 at the Faculty of Public Health, University of Debrecen. He has worked as an academic researcher in the field of epidemiology and public health from 1996 until 2008 in different positions: assistant lecturer at the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health (1996-2005), assistant professor of the Division of Biostatistics; Epidemiology at the University of Debrecen (2005-2008). He has started a business entrepreneurship in Angola in 2008 where as a CEO was responsible of the establishment and management of a private company until 2015. From June 2017, he works as a principal researcher at Syreon Research Institute.


The project was launched in September 2015 and will continue to August 2020.

This project has received funding from the European Unionʼs Horizon2020 Programme under grant agreement no 634753