Frits Rosendaal

Frits Rosendaal (1959) studied medicine at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam (medical degree: 1985), and obtained his Ph.D. in Leiden (1989), with a thesis on hemophilia. Ever since, he has been appointed jointly at the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and the Department of Thrombosis and Hemostasis. He became Professor of Clinical Epidemiology in 1997, with a chair that was aptly named “Clinical Epidemiology of Thrombosis and Hemostasis”. Since 1999, he is head of the department of Clinical Epidemiology, and since 2007 also of the Department of Thrombosis and Hemostasis.

The Ph.D. thesis of Frits Rosendaal dealt with medical and social aspects of haemophilia treatment, at a time when the benefits of adequate treatment with clotting factor concentrates became evident, but also the negative effects, with the devastating effects of AIDS caused by blood-transmission of HIV. His thesis was called ‘Hemophilia: the best of times, the worst of times’. This study was the third in a series of national surveys started in 1972 in Leiden. He subsequently supervised the fourth and fifth edition of ‘Hemophilia in the Netherlands’. His main research theme has become thrombosis, and he led the first formal epidemiological case-control study in the aetiology of venous thrombosis: the Leiden Thrombophilia Study (LETS). This study was instrumental in the identification of a new series of risk factors for venous thrombosis, such as factor V Leiden, prothrombin 20210A, high levels of factor VIII, factor IX, factor XI and TAFI. It also played a major role in the discovery that certain oral contraceptives (socalled 3rd generation pills) are less safe than others, and of the synergistic effect of factor V Leiden and oral contraceptive use on the risk of venous thrombosis. Subsequent large projects in the area of venous thrombosis were the EPCOT study, a European project into the risks of disease in familial thrombophilia, the WRIGHT project dealing with the association between air travel and thrombosis, and the MEGA study, a very large study into gene-environment interaction in the etiology of venous thrombosis. Other studies dealt with arterial disease, e.g. the SMILE project on the coagulation system and myocardial infarction, and the RATIO study, on the effects of oral contraceptives and coagulation abnormalities on myocardial infarction, stroke and peripheral artery disease in young women. In collaboration with the Leiden anticoagulation clinic he has performed studies into optimising anticoagulant treatment. Currently, he is involved in designing the Netherlands Epidemiology of Obesity project, a large prospective study on disease development in overweight and obese individuals (www.neo-studie.nl). All these studies involve over a thousand to ten-thousand individuals, and have led to a rich resource in data- and biobanks.

Frits Rosendaal is author of nearly 500 papers in international journals. He is recipient of the Spinoza Award (2003) the highest scientific prize in the Netherlands. He is European coordinator of the Leducq International Network Against Thrombosis and has Affiliate Professorships at the University of Washington in Seattle, and the University of Vermont in Burlington. He is Chairman of the Netherlands Society for Thrombosis and Haemostasis (NVTH), and Chairman of the Council of the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ISTH).He is member of the national Health Council (Gezondheidsraad) and member of the Royal Netherlands Society of Arts and Sciences (Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen).