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Highest honor in the field of environmental epidemiology
06.09.2019

Annette Peters receives John Goldsmith Award – the highest honor in the field of environmental epidemiology

Prof. Dr. Annette Peters, Director of the Institute of Epidemiology at Helmholtz Zentrum München, has been awarded the John Goldsmith Award 2019, highest honor of the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology (ISEE). Peters received the award during the annual ISEE conference in Utrecht, where she also gave the John Goldsmith Memorial lecture. With the award, the ISEE recognizes Peter’s extraordinary achievements in the field of environmental epidemiology over the last decades.

Image: (left to right) Prof. Douglas Dockery, Prof. Annette Peters, Prof. Bert Brunekreef. © Helmholtz Zentrum München

Since 1999, the John Goldsmith Award is awarded annually to investigators who have made "sustained and outstanding contributions to the knowledge and practice of environmental epidemiology”. Peters is the first German scientist who has been awarded with this highest international honor in the field of environmental epidemiology. As a longtime member, Peters is closely connected to the ISEE and led the society from 2012 to 2013 as president. “I am very pleased and honored to receive the John Goldsmith Award,” said Peters, “especially since I received it exactly 20 years after my mentor, Prof. Douglas Dockery, Harvard School of Public Health”.

Peters is director of the Institute of Epidemiology at the Helmholtz Zentrum München and Professor of Epidemiology at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich. In addition to her work in Munich, she has taught as Adjunct Associate Professor at the Department of Environmental Health at the Harvard School of Public Health for ten years. Environmental epidemiology has been her main research interest since the beginning of her career. The studied biologist, mathematician and epidemiologist pioneered work in identifying the link between ambient particulate matter and cardiovascular disease. Together with toxicologists, Peters was the first to show the effects of ultrafine particles on the health of asthmatics, a finding that is still highly relevant today. As head of the KORA study in Augsburg and the German National Cohort, Peters' main research interest today is to understand the role of epigenetics, metabolism and immune activity in the interaction of genes and the environment.

As German Research Center for Environmental Health, Helmholtz Zentrum München pursues the goal of developing personalized medical approaches for the prevention and therapy of major common diseases such as diabetes mellitus, allergies and lung diseases. To achieve this, it investigates the interaction of genetics, environmental factors and lifestyle. The Helmholtz Zentrum München has about 2,500 staff members and is headquartered in Neuherberg in the north of Munich. Helmholtz Zentrum München is a member of the Helmholtz Association, a community of 19 scientific-technical and medical-biological research centers with a total of about 37,000 staff members. 

The Institute of Epidemiology (EPI) assesses genetic, environmental and lifestyle risk factors which jointly determine the occurrence of major chronic diseases. The focus is on the development and progression of metabolic, respiratory and allergic diseases, as well as heart diseases and mental health. The goal is to understand the molecular underpinning of disease better and to translate this knowledge into personalized approaches of prevention as well as polices to improve health. Research builds on the unique resources of the KORA cohort, the KORA myocardial infarction registry, and the KORA aerosol measurement station. Aging-related phenotypes have been added to the KORA research portfolio within the frame of the Research Consortium KORA-Age. Moreover, the institute makes use of the birth cohorts GINI and LISA. It plays a leading role in the planning and setting up of the German National Cohort and builds the NAKO biorepository.

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