Nikolai Saperkin, alumnus of the Master's in Epidemiology

Portrait photo of Nikolai Saperkin

"The Master’s in Epidemiology is an excellent gateway into clinical research and evidence-based medicine. As an associate professor of preventative medicine, I was looking to expand my knowledge of clinical epidemiology, a science that is rapidly developing and a highly effective approach that can be applied to any health-related conditions. During my time on the programme I developed and ameliorated a huge range of both hard and soft skills. On top of all-new knowledge, I gained the confidence to know how to work effectively as a professional within the labour market, be effective in a team, and share knowledge on the principles of evidence-based medicine.

Before studying for my Master’s I trained in epidemiology in infectious diseases and obtained a PhD in Russia. I was working at one of the country’s top universities as an associate professor, teaching epidemiology and conducting research into the spread and prevention of infectious diseases in humans. Of considerable interest to me was the investigation of outbreaks, their drivers, and how best to respond to them.

Two years ago I decided to expand my knowledge and skills in clinical epidemiology with a Master’s from Utrecht University. One of the immense attractions of this particular programme was the mix of epidemiology courses and biostatistics. This programme has an outstanding curriculum, and is taught by researchers with a huge amount of expertise in both the theory and practice of epidemiology. They are enthusiastic professionals who actively participate in epidemiologic research and make significant contributes to the science, thus improving our healthcare systems.

I was positively surprised by the illuminating lectures, discussions and challenging computer practicals and seminars.

A highlight of the programme was the research project. Under the supervision of truly inspiring senior colleagues, I had the chance to work all the steps of a research project, with its pitfalls, and with the immense reward of obtaining relevant results."

Angie Luna Pinzon, alumnus of the Master's in Epidemiology

Alumnus Angie Luna Pinzon in front of the Hijmans van den Bergh building

"My PhD is a very challenging and ambitious project but I know I have the knowledge and skills to succeed at it, thanks to my Master’s Epidemiology. A great advantage of this programme is the opportunity to do a one-year internship versus the shorter internships offered by other Master’s programmes. My one-year internship at the National Institute of Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) was a chance to fully dive into my research topic and develop my research skills. I got to put into practice all the theoretical aspects I had learned and worked under an excellent supervisor, a senior epidemiologist who, in a very short time helped me to dramatically improve my research skills.

I have known that I wanted to work in the public health sector for a long time, but it was a summer course in epidemiology that helped me to make the decision to do my Master’s in this area. During my Master’s I got to develop my research skills to a higher level than many comparable programmes, and I gained a strong theoretical knowledge during the coursework. In fact it was during the coursework that I came to know about the research conducted at the Amsterdam Academic Medical Center’s Public Health Department. I knew immediately that this was an area I wanted to work in – and I have just started by four-year PhD here.

The aim of the project I am working in is to develop an innovative approach to promote sustainable healthy habits in children (10-14 years) in multi-ethnic lower social economical groups. I have always been interested in research with children and, having an international background myself, I was very excited to join this research group and to embark on such a highly-rewarding project."