L. H. Lumey, MD, PhD

  • Professor of Epidemiology at the Columbia University Medical Center
Profile Headshot


Dr. Lumey studied medicine at the Universities of Leiden and Amsterdam in the Netherlands and history and philosophy of science at Darwin College, University of Cambridge, England. He was awarded a Fulbright fellowship to study at Columbia University where he obtained MPH and PhD degrees in epidemiology. After returning to the Netherlands, Dr Lumey worked at the Academic Medical Center of the University of Amsterdam and the National Institute for Public Health and Environmental Protection RIVM. He later joined the American Health Foundation in New York and was Director of the New York City Perinatal HIV Transmission Collaborative Study before being recruited to the Department of Epidemiology at Columbia. Over the last decades, Dr Lumey completed a number of single and multi-generation cohort studies worldwide to investigate the relation between maternal nutrition in pregnancy and health outcomes in the offspring. These studies include men and women exposed to malnutrition during the Ukraine famine of 1932-33, the Dutch famine of 1944-45, and the Chinese famine of 1959-61. He has reported extensively on morbidity and mortality, including birth outcomes, infant growth, and adult health, including epigenetic changes. With collaborators in Leiden, he published in 2008 the first study in humans linking prenatal famine to persisting epigenetic changes in DNA methylation of the IGF2 gene. Further studies in the Dutch famine population show that DNA methylation could be an epigenetic mediator of the impact of prenatal nutrition on adult health.

Academic Appointments

  • Professor of Epidemiology at the Columbia University Medical Center

Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • MD, 1982 University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • MPH, 1985 Columbia University
  • PhD, 1988 Columbia University

Committees, Societies, Councils

Molecular Epidemiology Department, Leiden University Medical Center, Netherlands

Editorial Boards

International Journal of Epidemiology

Honors & Awards

Lorentz Fellow, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, NIAS, Wassenaar, 2008-09

George G. Graham Annual Lecture, Center for Human Nutrition, Johns Hopkins University, 2015

Fulbright Fellow, Columbia University, 1982-1986


Selected Publications

Lumey LH, Stein AD, Kahn HS, van der Pal-de Bruin KM, Blauw GJ, Zybert PA, et al. Cohort profile: the Dutch Hunger Winter families study. Int J Epidemiol 2007;36(6):1196-204.
Heijmans BT, Tobi EW, Stein AD, Putter H, Blauw GJ, Susser ES, Slagboom PE, Lumey LH. Persistent epigenetic differences associated with prenatal exposure to famine in humans. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2008;105(44):17046-9.
Tobi EW, Lumey LH, Talens RP, Kremer D, Putter H, Stein AD, et al. DNA methylation differences after exposure to prenatal famine are common and timing- and sex-specific. Hum Mol Genet 2009;18(21):4046-53. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddp353.
Lumey LH, Stein AD, Susser E. Prenatal Famine and Adult Health. Annu Rev Publ Hlth 2011; (32) 237- 62. doi/10.1146/annurev-publhealth-031210-101230.
Tobi EW, Goeman JJ, Monajemi R, Gu H, Putter H, ZhangY, Slieker RC, Stok AP, Thijssen PE, Mvɬºller F, van Zwet EW, Bock C, Meissner A, Lumey LH, Slagboom PE, Heijmans BT. DNA methylation signatures link prenatal famine exposure to growth and metabolism. Nature Comm, Nov 26, 2014; doi:10.1038/ncomms6592.
Ekamper P, van Poppel F, Stein AD, Bijwaard GE, Lumey LH. Prenatal Famine Exposure and Adult Mortality through Age 63 Years from Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease and Other Causes. Am J  Epidemiol 2015 Feb 15; 181 (4): 271-279. doi:10.1093/aje/kwu288.
Lumey LH,  Khalangot MD, Vaiserman AM. Association between type 2 Diabetes after prenatal exposure to the Ukraine famine of 1932-1933: a retrospective cohort study.  Lancet Diab Endocrinol. 2015; doi: 10.1016/S2213-8587(15)00279-X.
Li C, Lumey LH.  Exposure to the Chinese Famine of 1959-1961 in early life and long-term health conditions: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Int J Epidemiol 2017; 46:1157-1170. doi:10.1093/ije/dyx013.
Tobi EW, Slieker RC, Luijk R, Dekkers KE, Stein AD, Xu KM, BIOS Consortium, Slagboom PE, van Zwet EW, Lumey LH, Heijmans BT. DNA methylation as a mediator of the association between prenatal adversity and risk factors for metabolic disease in adulthood. Science Adv 2018; 4: eaao4364, 2 February 2018.
Li C, Tobi EW, Heijmans BT, Lumey LH. The effect of the Chinese Famine on type 2 diabetes mellitus epidemics. Nature Rev Endocrin 21 March 2019.  https://www.nature.com/articles/s41574-019-0195-5

Global Health Activities

http://www.lorentzcenter.nl/lc/web/2008/319/info.php3?wsid=319&venue=Oort'>First international workshop on the long term consequences of famine in human populations, Leiden, Netherlands, 2008

Visiting Professor, Department of Biosciences and Nutrition, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, 2013

Visiting Professor, Universidade Federal de Ciencias da Saude de Porto Alegre, Brazil, 2014