Epidemiology and Health Care Research (A)

On the basis of large population studies, the DZD is investigating the influence of genes as well as environmental and lifestyle factors on the pathogenesis of diabetes. Thus, prognoses shall be made about the prevalence of diabetes in the population as well as on the individual course of the disease in patients. In addition, the DZD is seeking to identify new biomarkers, which in the future will improve risk prediction and the diagnosis of diabetes.

DZD researchers are conducting studies to investigate the influence of environmental and lifestyle factors on the development of diabetes. © DZD

The epidemiological data of the DZD are gained through large prospective cohort studies, such as KORA (Cooperative Health Research in the Region of Augsburg) at Helmholtz Zentrum München and the EPIC Potsdam Study (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition) at the German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbrücke (DIfE). In addition, DZD partners participate in the National Cohort (NAKO) – the largest population-based health study in Germany – and support the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) and the German Diabetes Association (DDG) in setting up a"diabetes surveillance".


Initial research results are already providing benefit for people. Thus, the analysis of data from large population studies was important for the development of the DIfE – GERMAN DIABETES RISK TEST® . Based on this test, each adult can independently determine his / her individual risk for type 2 diabetes.

Due to the close cooperation of the DZD partners and the sharing of the cohort data, various factors could also be identified that are associated with an increased diabetes risk. These include biological markers, such as the liver protein fetuin-A, data on body measurements, diet and lifestyle, and a family history of diabetes. Moreover, environmental factors such as smoking and traffic-related environmental pollution have an influence on diabetic development.

KORA Study

In the KORA Study (Cooperative Health Research in the Region of Augsburg), carried out under the auspices of Helmholtz Zentrum München, scientists monitor the health of the Augsburg population.
Since the start of the study four additional groups of 4,000 to 5,000 participants have been included in intervals of five years.

Potsdam EPIC Study

The Potsdam study "European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition" (EPIC) is being conducted at DIfE. The aim is to investigate the relationships between diet and the development of diseases such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. About 27,500 men and women are participating in the study.


MASP1, THBS1, GPLD1 and ApoA-IV are novel biomarkers associated with prediabetes: the KORA F4 study, Diabetologia (2016) 59: 1882. doi:10.1007/s00125-016-4024-2

Omentin-1, Adiponectin, and the Risk of Developing Type 2 Diabetes, Diabetes Care 2016 Jun; 39(6): e79-e80. doi.org/10.2337/dc15-2702

Metformin effect on non-targeted metabolite profiles in patients with type 2 diabetes and multiple murine tissues, Diabetes, doi: 10.2337/db16-0512

The genetic architecture of type 2 diabetes. Nature. 2016 Aug 4;536(7614):41-7, doi:10.1038/nature18642

Investigation of gene-diet interactions in the incretin system and risk of type 2 diabetes: the EPIC-InterAct study. InterAct Consortium. Diabetologia. 2016 Dec;59(12):2613-2621. doi: 10.1007/s00125-016-4090-5


Prof. Dr.
Annette Peters

Institute of Epidemiologie II

Prof. Dr.
Matthias Schulze

Department of Molecular Epidemiology