November 21, 2023 | News | New faces at MPIDR

Welcome, Aapo Hiilamo!

Aapo Hiilamo joins the Laboratory of Population Health and will work in the MaxHel Center. © MPIDR/Schulz

The Laboratory of Population Health welcomes Aapo Hiilamo as a new member. Aapo comes from Itla Children's Foundation, Helsinki, where he worked as a specialized researcher and focused on child poverty and health. He is also a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, London School of Economics and Political Science, London. He received his Ph.D. in Demography/Population Studies from the London School of Economics and Political Science. The title of the thesis is "Ageing in the age of debt: household debt and mental wellbeing in people aged 50 and over".

Aapo will be involved in the MaxHel Center. During the next four years he will focus on heterogeneity in health selection processes.

What’s your job at MPIDR and how long will you be working here? I am Research Scientist (Postdoc) and I will be working here for four years.

What is your motivation to work in this field of research?
I am interested in – among other things – heterogeneity in health selection processes, that is, how the effects of health conditions on subsequent socioeconomic and demographic outcomes vary across individuals, groups and contexts. In general, I aim motivated by research questions that, ultimately, can help to improve population health, reduce social inequalities in health outcomes and promote equal opportunities.

Why did you choose MPIDR as your new employer?
I applied for a postdoc here because of the institute’s excellent reputation and many of my previous colleagues recommended it to me. So far, I must say I feel very fortunate to work with such talented researchers. Rostock is a lovely city and the people here are welcoming and friendly.

Where are you from? What do you miss most about home (and maybe: what don’t you miss at all)?
I am from Helsinki, Finland. In addition to missing my family and friends, I really miss the sauna and Finnish nature. I do not miss the extremely short days there during winter time.

What is your favorite and what is your least favorite part about work?
My favorite part is hearing about the interesting research my colleagues conduct. Discussions with colleagues also provides me ideas to improve my work. My least favorite part of doing research often involves the long waits, such as waiting for data access or reviewers comments.


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The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.