Research area Environment and Diseases

Investigating the link between environment and disease

Research Area Environment Diseases

Understanding how the environment influences health and disease is a complex task.


Every day we are constantly exposed to chemicals in our environment – be it traffic exhaust, pesticides sprayed on the fields or household cleaning agents. The most prevalent and costly diseases affecting the industrialized world today are the result of myriad complex interactions between patients’ genetic profiles and their environments.

The environment is incredibly complex, with over 200 million chemicals registered in the largest chemical registry and over 70,000 in household use alone. Researchers constantly strive to increase the number of chemicals we can identify in our environment or in humans to better understand their toxicity and the causes underlying diseases.

We use high-resolution mass spectrometry to trace the migration of organic pollutants through groundwater and into rivers. Although thousands of molecules are detected in our water, the vast majority of these are still unknown.

We are also investigating how population genetic variation and environmental differences such as diet or ageing contribute to diverging incidence and severity of metabolic diseases.

Research groups