Research, Urban Planning, Environment and Health

BiSC (Barcelona Life Study Cohort)

Projecte BiSC
Jordi Sunyer (ISGlobal)
Funded by
European Research Council (ERC) & Health Effects Institute (HEI)

The BiSC (Barcelona Life Study Cohort) Project is one of the largest studies to date to understand the effect of air pollution on infant health and brain development, even before birth.

The project is coordinated by ISGlobal in collaboration with the BCNatal center (Hospital Sant Joan de Deu, Hospital Clínic and the University of Barcelona) and the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau.

The project pursues lines of research opened by previous studies, such as the INMA Project and BREATHE, also coordinated by Jordi Sunyer, Head of ISGlobal’s Childhood and Environment Programme. The main findings to date indicate that air pollution has a negative impact on the cognitive function of school children and is associated with changes in their brain function. BiSC aims to focus on the earliest phases of life to pinpoint the moment at which air pollution starts having an effect on brain development. To do so, they will examine the brain by means of imaging tests before and after birth. The study will also look at the effect on foetal and newborn growth. 

A call for pregnant women  

The project is in the process of building a cohort of pregnant women. The initial aim is to recruit 1,200 volunteers living in Barcelona and in their first trimester of pregnancy. BCNatal and the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau will offer the possibility of participating through their obstetrics consultation service. Women interested in participating can request information through the project website

BiSC has been made possible by a European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant (project 'Pre-natal exposure to urban AIR pollution and pre- and post-Natal Brain development, AIR-NB) and competitive funding from the Health Effects Institute (HEI) (project 'Traffic-related air pollution and birth weight: the roles of noise, placental function, green space, physical activity, and socioeconomic status, FRONTIER).

The initial duration is of three years, although the long-term objective is to establish a birth cohort that allows following the health of the recruited mothers and newborns during their entire life. 


3.5 million euros

Our Team

Principal Investigators (PI)

ISGlobal Team

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