Environmental hazards account for a probably large, but not well characterised, proportion of the burden of disease. The exposome, described as "the totality of human environmental exposures from conception onwards", recognizes that individuals are exposed simultaneously to a multitude of different environmental factors and takes a holistic approach to the discovery of etiological factors for disease. The exposome’s main advantage over traditional ‘one-exposure-one-disease’ study approaches is that it provides an unprecedented conceptual framework for the study of multiple environmental hazards (urban, chemical, lifestyle, social) and their combined effects.
Promises of the Exposome
- Holistic → Complex system, multiple exposures, mixtures.
- Life-course → Temporal sequence.
- New tools/technology → Coverage and accuracy of exposures (omics, sensors, etc.).
- Internal exposome → Early biological responses.
- Untargeted discovery → Unknown exposures.
The characterisation of the exposome and its related health effects requires continuous innovation in the development of tools and methods, including for exposure assessment, integration of omics markers, data infrastructures, and complex data analysis. Interdisciplinary collaboration is key to this.
ISGlobal has established itself at the forefront of international exposome research through its coordination of, and partnership in, several large international exposome projects funded by the European Commission (see projects).
ISGlobal’s Exposome Research Hub brings together a cross-faculty network of researchers across the following programmes:
- Air Pollution and Urban Environment
- Climate and Health (AIRLAB)
- Childhood and Environment
- Non-communicable Diseases and Environment
This in order to promote excellence, innovation, and collaboration in exposome research, and to meet the training needs of researchers in this field.
Large Exposome Projects at ISGlobal
Lines of Research across ISGlobal Programmes
- Internal exposome, chemical exposures, endocrine disruptors.
- External exposome, urban environment (e.g. air pollution, noise, built environment including green spaces), GIS-based exposure characterization, and modelling and measurement of exposures.
- Working-life exposome, harmonisation of occupational exposure assessment throughout Europe (EuroJEM).
- Biological responses/internal exposome through omics technologies, epigenetics, transcriptomics, inflammatory proteins, allostatic load, accelerated ageing, gut microbiome, metabolomics.
- Cohort implementation and harmonization: mega-cohorts for occupational health, longitudinal mother-child cohorts, adult cohorts, mega-cohorts from administrative data.
- Exposure and health: mental health and neurodevelopment, cardio-metabolic health, obesity, respiratory health.
- Bioinformatics for multi-omics integration, federated data analysis (analyses when data are stored on federated databases or, more generally, in different repositories, e.g. Datashield).
- Advanced data modelling for exposure mixtures and causal inference.
- Characterization of the air from urban and rural environments: determination of physical properties of particles (from coarse to ultrafine particles), analysis of chemical (metals, non-metals, etc.) and biological (bacteria, fungi and viruses) composition. AIRLAB: core facility laboratory.
- Lea Maitre Predoctoral Researcher
- Rodney Ortiz Project Manager
Advancing Tools for Human Early Lifecourse Exposome Research and Translation
Early-life stressors and LifeCycle health
EXposome Powered tools for healthy living in urbAN SEttings
Other projectsSee Past Projects
Engaging Citizens in Science: Promoting the Viability of Participatory Sensing for Monitoring Air and Environmental Quality
The international Mind, Activities and urban Places in Barcelona study (iMAP Barcelona study): Building the evidence base on the relationships between environment, active living and cognitive health
Ageing Lungs in European Cohorts
Physical Activity as a Crucial Patient Reported Outcome in COPD
Impact Of Pollution on Asthma and Rhinitis
Las Voces de los Afectados por la Nefropatía Mesoamericana
Early Genetics Growth/Early Genetics and Lifecourse Epidemiology
Air Pollution, Autism spectrum disorders, and brain imaging in CHildren amongst Europe
A federated FAIR platform enabling large-scale analysis of high-value cohort data connecting Europe and Canada in personalized health
Arctic Impact on Weather and Climate
Health Sector Engagement for the Copernicus Climate Change Services: Translating European Users Requirements