Environmental impacts on health to be studied with a multi-million grant

Professor Clive Sabel has received DKK 60 million from the Novo Nordisk Foundation Challenge Programme to establish the Big Data Centre for Environment and Health at the Department of Environmental Science at Aarhus University.

2018.01.12 | Christina Troelsen

Professor Clive Sabel, Department of Environmental Science, will lead the Big Data Centre for Environment and Health. (Foto: Aarhus Universitet).

Professor Clive Sabel, Department of Environmental Science, will lead the Big Data Centre for Environment and Health. (Foto: Aarhus Universitet).

A number of environmental impacts are harmful to our health, but what is the effect of different environmental impacts over a lifetime? Is disease the result of isolated cases of high-risk exposure to harmful conditions, or is it the result of slow accumulation over a lifetime? And is the effect exacerbated by combined environmental impacts?

The concept of 'exposome’ encompasses the total environmental exposures of an individual over a lifetime and it is a vital element in understanding the relationship between the environment and health - i.e. what environmental conditions in our immediate surroundings lead to disease on the one hand, and quality of life on the other. The environmental impacts of the home are often applied as a measure of an individual’s exposure. The Big Data Centre for Environment and Health will improve the description of the environmental impact on an individual by including temporal and activity patterns as well as personal measurements. The Big Data revolution of recent years in registers of medical, environmental and demographic conditions, as well as the possibility to collect data from personal sensors and social media, provide unique potential to understand the complex interactions between environmental pollutants and public health.

The overall objective of the new Big Data Centre for Environment and Health is to gather, combine and analyse various large data sets, and to develop algorithms and intelligent data analyses that will provide new knowledge about the relationship between the environment and health.  The centre brings together experts from within environmental science, computer science, epidemiology and medicine, and they will be supported by an international team of Big Data specialists to understand and exploit the Big Data revolution in future health studies.

The ambitious interdisciplinary centre is being coordinated by Professor Clive Sabel from the Department of Environmental Science at Aarhus University. Professor Sabel is an environmental geographer specialising in analysis of spatial data at individual level. The management team at the centre also includes Professor Torben Sigsgaard from the Department of Public Health at Aarhus University, an environmental and occupational physician specialising in the health effects of environmental impacts, Professor Carsten Bøcker Pedersen from the Department of Economics and Business Economics, a statistician specialising in register-based research, and finally Professor Ole Hertel from the Department of Environmental Science, an environmental scientist specialising in population exposures to air pollution.

For more information, please contact:

Professor Clive Sabel
Department of Environmental Science
Aarhus University
Email: cs@envs.au.dk
Tel: +4593508633

 

 

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