Non-communicable Diseases and Environment

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and chronic lung disease, are collectively responsible for almost 70% of all deaths worldwide. Almost three quarters of all NCD deaths, and 82% of the 16 million people who died prematurely, occur in low and middle income countries.

NCDs are becoming extremely prevalent due to the combination of an increased life expectancy and a higher prevalence of well-known major risk factors, such as smoking, air pollution, an obesogenic diet, physical inactivity and occupational exposures, as well as contextual changes in socio-economic and environmental factors, such as poverty, urban structure and climate change.

The NCDs and Environment Programme at ISGlobal aims to study the causes and mechanisms of the development and progression of cancers and respiratory and allergic diseases throughout the life course in high and low-and-middle income countries, focusing on environmental, occupational and lifestyle determinants, incorporating advanced epidemiological, bioinformatic and statistical methods.

Our ultimate goal is to use our research findings to reduce the public health burden of these diseases through primary and secondary prevention strategies, including the design of effective population based and personalized interventions, in link with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Main Objectives

  • Environmental causes of diseases and methods. We aim to study the development and progression of cancers and respiratory and allergic diseases in relation to environmental and occupational exposures as well as lifestyle factors, incorporating advanced epidemiological, bioinformatic and statistical methods.
  • Characterisation of NCDs phenotypes and their mechanisms. We aim to study the role of genetic and molecular factors (including genomics, epigenomics, and other omic biomarkers) in the development and progression of cancers, respiratory and allergic diseases and their multimorbidity, as well as to assess the phenotypic heterogeneity and comorbidities of respiratory and allergic diseases.
  • Low-and-middle income countries (LMICs). We aim to study the prevalence and risk factors of several environmental exposures and NCDs in LMICs, such as exposure to oil extraction activities in Peru or endemic Burkitt Lymphoma in Mozambique.

Our Team


  • Judith Garcia
    Judith Garcia Head of the Non-Communicable Diseases and Environment Programme

Our Team

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Highlighted Projects


Population based multicasecontrol study on common tumours in Spain


Network on the Coordination and Harmonisation of European Occupational Cohorts



Severe respiratory failure in COVID-19: clinical, biological and imaging risk factors


Leveraging the European Genome-Phenome Archive (EGA) for Industry and Society


Connecting digital mobility assessment to clinical outcomes for regulatory and clinical endorsement

AiguaBCN Project


Exposure to emerging contaminants in drinking water in Barcelona potentially liked to chronic diseases and wellbeing

CALMA Project


Co-created educational programme for dyspnea-bearing patients and their caregivers

Cancer-Watch Project


Risk of colorectal and breast cancer with widespread drinking water chemical contaminants


Cohort of COVID-19 in Spain: social dynamics, mental health and inequalities

Other projects

See Past Projects


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