Research Group "Environmental Risks"

Objective 1: Acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term) health impacts of air pollution with a focus on the cardiovascular and metabolic system

We investigate acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term) health impacts of air pollution with a focus on the cardiovascular and metabolic system. Particularly, our work will provide new evidence for the following research questions:

  • What is the role of specific fractions or metrics of particulate matter, such as smaller fractions (e.g. ultrafine particles), black carbon, chemical constituents (e.g. metals, organics, crustal material), new emerging air pollution markers (e.g. particle length, particle surface) or source-types?

  • What is the role of gases such as NO, NOx, NO2, CO2 and ozone?

  • What is the interplay between different air pollutants in the ambient air mixture?

  • Which exposure-response functions best reflect the true association and are there any threshold values?

  • What is the role of different exposure types (e.g. repeated short episodes, yearly at residence, personal peak exposures)?

  • Which population subgroups are especially susceptible (e.g. elderly, children, chronically sick) and are there in particular differences with regard to sex and gender concepts?

  • What are the underlying mechanisms behind the worldwide observed adverse health effects of air pollution? Which subclinical phenotypes can be detected that point towards certain pathways?

  • What are important effect-modifiers of the association between air pollution and health (e.g. air temperature, green spaces, socioeconomic status)?

  • Do the health effects of air pollution vary over time?

  • What is the impact of  air pollution on aging?

  • Do the guideline values for Germany, Europe and across the world need to be updated?

Objective 2: Acute (short-term) and chronic (mid- to long-term) health impacts of meteorological parameters such as air temperature, humidity or UV-radiation with a focus on the cardiovascular and metabolic system

We investigate acute (short-term) and chronic (mid- to long-term) health impacts of meteorological parameters such as air temperature, humidity or UV-radiation with a focus on the cardiovascular and metabolic system. Particularly, our work aims to provide new evidence for the following research questions:

  • What is the interplay between meteorological factors and air pollution?

  • What are the underlying mechanisms behind the worldwide observed meteorological impact on health? Which subclinical phenotypes can be detected that point to certain pathways?

  • Which population subgroups are especially susceptible (e.g. elderly, children, chronically sick) and are there in particular differences with regard to sex and gender concepts?

  • What is the role of different exposure types (e.g. repeated short episodes, yearly at residence, personal peak exposures)?

  • What are important effects-modifiers of the association between meteorological factors and health (e.g. green spaces, socioeconomic status)?

  • Do the observed health effects vary over time, e.g. due to climate adaptation?

  • How can health effects of climate change be mitigated and how can the population be made more resilient, e.g. by smart city planning?

Objective 3: Acute (short-term) and chronic (mid- to long-term) health impacts of noise with a focus on the cardiovascular and metabolic system

We investigate acute (short-term) and chronic (mid- to long-term) health impacts of noise with a focus on the cardiovascular and metabolic system. Particularly, our work will provide new evidence for the following research questions:

  • What is the interplay between noise and air pollution?

  • What is the role of different exposure types (e.g. repeated short episodes, yearly at residence, personal peak exposures)?

  • Which population subgroups are especially susceptible (e.g. chronically sick, elderly)?

  • What are the underlying mechanisms behind the observed health effects of noise? Which subclinical phenotypes can be detected that point to certain pathways?

  • What impact does noise have on aging?

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