Rudi GJ Westendorp

Rudi GJ Westendorp


Member of:

  • Web: Center for Healthy Aging

  • Web Track 3: Individualized health

Current Positions

2015    Professor of Medicine at Old Age, Dept. of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

2015    Co-director, Center for Healthy Ageing, Copenhagen University, Denmark

2016    Senior Scientist, Statistics Denmark, Denmark



Institution and Location



Field of Study

Dutch Epidemiologic Society, the Netherlands




Leiden University, the Netherlands




University Hospital Leiden, the Netherlands



Critical Care

University Hospital Leiden, the Netherlands



Internal medicine

Leiden University, the Netherlands

MD (honours)




Personal Statement

Trained as an MD (1984) I became a consultant in Internal Medicine (1990) and Critical Care (1992). A series of experimental studies on critically ill patients provided me with a PhD (1993). I acquired an additional master in epidemiology (1997) how to design, handle, and analyse clinical studies. One of my early contributions was on fatal trajectories of meningitis, published in Lancet. As my clinical activities moved to caring for older patients, I became a research fellow into the biology of ageing at the University of Manchester (1998). As a result of this stay, I published on the fertility-longevity trade-off in Nature.

When appointed full professor of Medicine in Old Age (2000), I combined my clinical position as head of the department of Gerontology and Geriatrics at the University Hospital Leiden with research into ageing. Often my observational studies were followed by human experiments in small groups, others by clinical trials in large numbers. These findings have led to numerous publications in general biomedical journals, including over 50 contributions in N Engl J Med, JAMA, Lancet, and BMJ.

I was founding director of the Leyden Academy on Vitality and Ageing (2008), a privately funded institution in collaboration with the university, hospital, and municipality of Leiden. It became home for a series of PhD students on the economical, psychological, and social aspects of ageing. Moreover, I initiated the Master of Science on Vitality and Ageing that attracted ample international students.

In 2015, I moved to the University of Copenhagen to become co-director of the Center for Healthy Ageing (CEHA) of which I had membered the scientific advisory board since its inception in 2009. It allowed me to make a next step to perform state-of-the-art fundamental and inter-disciplinary research.


Previous Positions

2000-2014      Professor of Medicine, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, the Netherlands

1998               Research fellow, Biological Gerontology Group, University of Manchester, UK

1993-2000      Associate Professor, Dept. of Clinical Epidemiology, University Leiden, the Netherlands


Life Time Bibliometric Output






Science Citation Index





Google Scholar






In 2012 “Lab Times” ranked me as the 8th most-cited author in ageing research in Europe, which includes the 2nd-most cited article from 1999 through 2010; i.e. on the “PROSPER-study”. For my peer reviewed publication list, see:


Fellowships and Awards

2017    Harry Bröstrom Award, Association of Internal Medicine, Sweden

2014    Knight in the order of the Dutch Lion, the Netherlands

2009    Honorary Doctor of Medicine, Newcastle University, England

2008    Fellow of the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities, Haarlem, the Netherlands

2008    Visiting professor, Australian and New Zealand Society for Geriatric Medicine, Sydney, Australia

2007    Member of the Dutch Health Research Council, The Hague, the Netherlands

2004    Career profile: “Tying It Together.” Sci. Aging Knowl. Environ. 2004;9:nf23

2004    Personal profile. Lancet 2004;363:1334

1998    Siebold Medical Award, University of Nagasaki, Nagasaki, Japan

1996    IFCC-AVL award, Society for Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine, Utrecht, Netherlands


Supervision of Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Fellows

2000-present   I have successfully supervised 50+ PhD students; four have been appointed full professor


Teaching Activities

2010-2015       Director Master Vitality and Ageing, University Leiden, the Netherlands

2000-2018       Professor of Medicine, Faculty of Health, University Leiden, the Netherlands

1993-2000       Associate Professor, Faculty of Health, University Leiden, the Netherlands


Organisation of Scientific Meetings

2011       Autumn Meeting of the British Geriatrics Society, Brighton, United Kingdom (scientific chair)

2008       6th European Congress of Biogerontology, Noordwijkerhout, the Netherlands (chair)


Institutional Responsibilities

2012-2014      Director of the “VITALITY!-Program” of Medical Delta, a consortium of the universities and municipalities of Leiden, Delft, and Rotterdam, the Netherlands

2008-2014      Founding Director of Leyden Academy on Vitality and Ageing, Leiden, the Netherlands

2007-2014      Chairman National Program “Care for Older People”, Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports, The Hague, the Netherlands

2007-2010      Founding Director of the “Netherlands Consortium of Healthy Ageing”

2004-2008      Founding Chairman Section of Geriatrics, Association of Internal Medicine, Utrecht, the Netherlands

2000-2014      Head of Dept. Gerontology and Geriatrics, University Hospital Leiden, the Netherlands


Membership Reviewing Boards

2018-present   Scientific Advisory Group, National Innovation Centre for Ageing, Newcastle, UK

2016-present   Scientific Advisory Group, EU funded consortium SELFIE

2010-present   Scientific Advisory Board, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany

2009-2014      Scientific Advisory Board, Center for Healthy Ageing, Copenhagen, Denmark

2009-2018      Scientific Advisory Board, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, The Hague, the Netherlands

2009-present   Editorial Board Age and Ageing

2004-2018      Editorial Board Aging Research Reviews

2003-2012      Editorial Board Journal of Experimental Gerontology

2000-present   Editorial Board Netherlands Journal of Medicine


Memberships of Scientific Societies

1990-2015       Association of Internal Medicine, Utrecht, the Netherlands

1997-2015       Netherlands Epidemiologic Society, the Netherlands


Ongoing Grants

“Harnessing the power of big data to address the societal challenge of ageing”

Principal-Investigator; 8 Mio Euro (2018-2024) Novo Nordisk Fonden, Hellerup, Denmark


“Center for Healthy Aging”

Co-Investigator; 10 Mio Euro (2019-2023) Nordea Fonden, Copenhagen, Denmark


“Resetting the THYRoid axis for prevention of AGE-related diseases and co-morbidities”

Co-Investigator; 6 Mio Euro (2016-2020) Euro European Commission H2020 program Brussels, Belgium




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