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Miquel Porta

Miquel Porta (Barcelona, 1957) is a Catalan physician, epidemiologist and scholar. He has promoted the integration of biological, clinical and environmental knowledge and methods in health research and teaching, which he has conducted internationally; notably, in Spain, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Harvard, Imperial College London, and several other universities in Europe, North America, Kuwait, and Brazil. Appointed by the International Epidemiological Association (IEA)[2], in 2008 he succeeded the Canadian epidemiologist John M. Last as Editor of "A Dictionary of Epidemiology".[1][2] In the Preface to this book he argues for an inclusive and integrative practice of the science of epidemiology.

He is currently the head of the Clinical and Molecular Epidemiology of Cancer Unit[3] at the Hospital del Mar Research Institute - IMIM [3]. He is also a Professor of Preventive Medicine & Public Health, School of Medicine, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB),[4] and an Adjunct Professor of Epidemiology at the School of Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC).[5] After graduating from the UAB School of Medicine in 1981, Porta was during 3 years a Fellow with the Division of Clinical Pharmacology of UAB. He was then awarded a Fulbright scholarship to pursue the Master of Public Health (MPH) program at UNC, where he was later a Burroughs Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow in Pharmacoepidemiology.

The three main lines of research of his Unit at IMIM are: 1) Clinical and molecular epidemiology of pancreatic cancer and cancer of the extrahepatic biliary system. Gene-environment interactions with organochlorine compounds in the etiopathogenesis of pancreatic diseases. 2) Screening, early clinical detection, and "diagnostic delay" in cancer. 3) Assessing the impact on human health of Persistent Organic Pollutant (POPs).[6]

Other than at the UAB School of Medicine, he has also taught on molecular epidemiology, clinical epidemiology and pharmacoepidemiology at other institutions, including McGill University (Montreal, Canada), Imperial College (London), the European Educational Programme in Epidemiology (Firenze, Italy), the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität (Münster, Germany), several universities in Kuwait, Italy, Brazil and Mexico, and at Harvard, where he was on sabbatical in 1998-1999. He has acted as a grant and doctoral thesis reviewer for the Karolinska Institutet, the Finnish Academy, Diabetes UK, and several other European and American scientific organisations.

From 1994 to 1998 he was President of the Spanish Society of Epidemiology (SEE). From 2002 to 2005 he was European Councillor of the International Epidemiological Association (IEA) and Chairman of the IEA European Epidemiology Federation.[7] Since December 2012, Miquel Porta is a board member of the scientific foundation board of the Food Packaging Forum, a science communication organisation focused on food packaging health.[8]

He is (co)author of over 300 papers.[9] Beyond his main lines of research, he has written on topics such as causality[10] and the Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) / Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) link,[11][12] persistent organic pollutants and public health,[13][14][15][16][17] genome metaphors,[18] the bibliographic impact factor and scientific journals,[19][20][21][22] or the roles of scientific associations,[23][24] among other issues.[25][26][27][28][29][30] [31][32][33][34][35][36][37][38]

He is a member of the editorial boards of the 'European Journal of Clinical Investigation',[39] ‘Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health’ [4], and the ‘Journal of Clinical Epidemiology’,[40] an editorial consultant to ‘The Lancet’[5], and a Co-editor of the ‘European Journal of Epidemiology’.[41]


  1. Miquel Porta (2014) A dictionary of epidemiology, 6th edn, New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199976737.
  2. Porta M, ed. A dictionary of epidemiology. 5th. edition. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008. ISBN 978-0-19-531450-2 and ISBN 0-19-531450-6 [1] (the 6th. was published in June 2014)
  3. "Miquel porta - IMIM Institut Municipal d'Investigació Mèdica". Retrieved 2011-03-10. 
  4. Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona. "Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona". Retrieved 2011-03-10. 
  6. Porta M, et al. Monitoring concentrations of persistent organic pollutants in the general population: the international experience. Environment International 2008; 34: 546-561.
  7. "IEA Change of Website URLs". Retrieved 2011-03-10. 
  8. "Foundation Board". Food Packaging Forum website. Retrieved 2013-02-15. 
  9. "Miquel Porta B-5787-2008". Retrieved 2011-03-10. 
  10. Geneletti SG, Gallo V, Porta M, Khoury MJ, Vineis P. Assessing causal relationships in genomics: From Bradford-Hill criteria to complex gene-environment interactions and directed acyclic graphs. Emerg Themes Epidemiol 2011 Jun 9;8(1):5.
  11. Morabia A, Porta M. Ethics of ignorance: lessons from the epidemiological assessment of the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (‘Mad Cow Disease’) epidemic. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 1998; 41: 259-266.
  12. Porta M, Morabia A. Why aren’t we more ahead? The risk of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease from eating Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy-infected foods: Still undetermined [Editorial]. European Journal of Epidemiology 2004; 19: 287-289.
  13. Porta M. Persistent organic pollutants and the burden of diabetes. The Lancet 2006; 368: 558-559.
  14. Porta M. Persistent toxic substances: exposed individuals and exposed populations. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 2004; 58: 534-535.
  15. Porta M, Lee DH, Puigdomènech E. Transgenerational inheritance of environmental obesogens [Editorial]. Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2009; 66: 141-142.
  16. Porta M, Zumeta E. Implementing the Stockholm treaty on POPs [Editorial]. Occupational & Environmental Medicine 2002; 59: 651-652.
  17. Porta M. Bovine spongiform encephalopathy, persistent organic pollutants and the achievable utopias. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 2002; 56: 806-807.
  18. Porta M. The genome sequence is a jazz score. International Journal of Epidemiology 2003; 32: 29-31.
  19. Porta M. The bibliographic ‘impact factor’ of ISI, Inc.: How relevant is it really for public health journals? Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 1996; 50: 606-610.
  20. Porta M, Fernandez E, Bolúmar F. The “bibliographic impact factor” and the still uncharted sociology of epidemiology. International Journal of Epidemiology 2006; 35: 1130-1135.
  21. Porta M, Álvarez-Dardet C. How come scientists uncritically adopt and embody Thomson's bibliographic impact factor? [Editorial Comment] Epidemiology 2008; 19: 370-371.
  22. Porta M, Vandenbroucke JP, Ioannidis JP, Sanz S, Fernandez E, Bhopal R, Morabia A, Victora C, Lopez T. Trends in citations to books on epidemiological and statistical methods in the biomedical literature. PLoS One 2013 May 7; 8(5): e61837. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0061837.
  23. Porta M. Do we really need ‘real’ epidemiological scientific meetings? [Editorial]. European Journal of Epidemiology 2003; 18: 101-103.
  24. Barros H, Porta M. Bridging worlds–The European Congress of Epidemiology. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 2004; 58 (Supl. 1): iii-v.
  25. Entrevista: Miquel Porta | El mapa más detallado de la mortalidad en España. "El cáncer no es una lotería; en algunas ciudades hay más riesgo". El País, 1 de setembre de 2007.
  26. Ver lo que nos sale a cuenta. El País, 10 de juny de 2010: 31.
  27. La salud pública exige más cooperación. El País, 3 de maig de 2011: 37.
  28. La nueva Ley General de Salud Pública. El País, 3 d'octubre de 2011: 36 i ed. online.
  29. Salud en todas las políticas. El País, 24 de juny de 2008: 41.
  30. Cerco a las sustancias tóxicas persistentes - El País, 30 de gener de 2007: 41.
  31. Los viajeros ocultos de la obesidad - El País, 18 d'abril de 2006: 38.
  32. Contaminantes para nuestros nietos - El País, 15 de gener de 2002: 26-27.
  33. Facultades de medicina: internacionales o marginales. El País, 10 d'octubre de 2006: 51.
  34. EPO: algo más que un problema de dosis. El País, 19 de juny de 2007: 52.
  35. Razones para no decidir con prisas. El País, 6 de novembre de 2007: 46.
  36. El problema no es la toxicidad aguda. El País, 29 d'abril de 2008: 38.
  37. Cuerpos tóxicos. El impacto cultural de nuestra contaminación interior. La Vanguardia, 25 de novembre de 2009, Suplement Cultura/s (388): 1-5.
  38. .Entrevista a Miquel Porta. "Debemos combatir los agentes tóxicos". La Vanguardia, 19 d'agost de 2009.
  39. "European Journal of Clinical Investigation". Retrieved 2011-03-10. 
  40. "Journal of Clinical Epidemiology". Elsevier. Retrieved 2011-03-10. 
  41. "European Journal of Epidemiology". SpringerLink. Retrieved 2011-03-10. 

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