M.J.F. Gielen

Dr. Marij Gielen studied medicine at Maastricht University. After a period of teaching and curriculum development, she made a career switch in 2001 and became a researcher at Maastricht University. Her research focus is on the "programming of cardiometabolic risk factors in the prenatal and early postnatal period."


Currently, the research focuses on the influence of the built environment on birth outcomes and the further development of the offspring. This research seeks to enhance our understanding of the human aging process, which begins prenatally.


The associations identified between prenatal environment, genetic background, and cardiometabolic health, using data from birth cohorts at Maastricht University, may generate new hypotheses that can be tested in both experimental and clinical intervention studies. The new knowledge may lead to strategies for preventing the development of chronic diseases through interventions or strategies implemented at a very young age, long before cardiometabolic risk factors manifest and with the ultimate goal of identifying individuals with an enhanced risk for disease.


The impact of the environment on prenatal programming and the subsequent cardiometabolic health of offspring aligns well with the goals of NUTRIM division III: age- and lifestyle-related diseases.


As an extension, an international collaborative meta-analysis group called "TELOMAAS group" was formed in order to investigate the influence of obesity on telomere length.