Our Team

Maria Foraster

Maria Foraster

Assistant Research Professor Childhood & Environment, Air Pollution, Urban Planning, Environment and Health

Maria Foraster is Assistant Research Professor in Environmental Epidemiology at ISGlobal and Associate Professor of Public Health at Universitat Ramon Llull (Barcelona), PhD in Biomedicine, Master in Public Health, and Master in Pharmacy. Previously, she worked at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (2014-2017, Basel, Switzerland).

She studies how the urban environment affects health over the life-span, with a special focus on the global health effects of transportation noise and correlated urban exposures (e.g. air pollution, green spaces). She is interested in improving the existing evidence by bridging novel exposure assessment techniques, with the ascertainment of biological pathways, and novel approaches to study multiple urban hazards such as the exposome. 

She has participated in 18 cutting-edge projects mostly on urban environment and health funded by national or international competitive calls, in different European countries and populations, and has co-authored 51 peer-reviewed papers. She has pioneered approaches to disentangle and advance the evidence about the independent effects of transportation noise and air pollution on cardiovascular health during ageing and on children’s neurodevelopment.

Currently, she is ISGlobal work package (WP) leader and principal investigator of in the Horizon 2020 Equal-life exposome project on early-life environmental quality and life-course mental health. She is Steering Committee member and WP leader in the Barcelona Life Study Cohort (BiSC) on urban environment and developmental effects in pregnancy and infancy. She has also obtained highly competitive funding (2% success rate) to study how the COVID-19 pandemic affects maternal mental health and infant neurodevelopment (AXA Research Fund).

Among others, she has obtained a Marie Slodowska-Curie Seal of Excellence and Beatriu de Pinós fellowship for her study on noise and brain development and has been scientific advisor for the WHO Environmental Noise Guidelines (2018)

Lines of research

  • Noise, urban environment, and health
  • External exposome characterization
  • Cardiovascular and metabolic diseases
  • Early-life development and neurodevelopment
  • Mental health
  • Epigenetics of noise and air pollution

Main publications

  • Foraster M, Basagaña X, Aguilera I, Rivera M, Agis D, Bouso L, Deltell A, Marrugat J, Ramos R, Sunyer J, Vila J, Elosua R, Künzli N. Association of long-term exposure to traffic-related air pollution with blood pressure and hypertension in an adult population-based cohort in Spain (the REGICOR study). Environ Health Perspect 2014a;122:404–11. 
  • Foraster M, Künzli N, Aguilera I, Rivera M, Agis D, Vila J, Bouso L, Deltell A, Marrugat J, Ramos R, Sunyer J, Elosua R, Basagaña X. High blood pressure and long-term exposure to indoor noise and air pollution from road traffic. Environ Health Perspect 2014b;122:1193–200. 
  • Forns J, Dadvand P, Foraster M, Alvarez-Pedrerol M, Rivas I, López-Vicente M, Suades-Gonzalez E, Garcia-Esteban R, Esnaola M, Cirach M, Grellier J, Basagaña X, Querol X, Guxens M, Nieuwenhuijsen MJ, Sunyer J. Traffic-Related Air Pollution, Noise at School, and Behavioral Problems in Barcelona Schoolchildren: A Cross-Sectional Study. Environ Health Perspect 2016;124:529–35. 
  • Foraster M, Eze IC, Schaffner E, Vienneau D, Héritier H, Endes S, Rudzik F, Thiesse L, Pieren R, Schindler C, Schmidt-Trucksäss A, Brink M, Cajochen C, Marc Wunderli J, Röösli M, Probst-Hensch N. Exposure to Road, Railway, and Aircraft Noise and Arterial Stiffness in the SAPALDIA Study: Annual Average Noise Levels and Temporal Noise Characteristics. Environ Health Perspect 2017;125:097004. 
  • Foraster M, Eze IC, Vienneau D, Schaffner E, Jeong A, Héritier H, Rudzik F, Thiesse L, Pieren R, Brink M, Cajochen C, Wunderli J-M, Röösli M, Probst-Hensch N. Long-term exposure to transportation noise and its association with adiposity markers and development of obesity. Environment International 2018;121:879–89.