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International Workshop on Environmental Factors, Genetics and Public Health
Against the backdrop of Lake Chiemsee, researchers of Helmholtz Zentrum München and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) came together in March 2015. Scientists from both institutions are seeking to elucidate the spectrum of health effects caused by airborne pollutants. Helmholtz Zentrum München and the Environmental Protection Agency maintain close scientific relations. In 1998 a formal cooperation agreement was concluded. Since then, the project partners have been meeting at regular intervals to discuss their work, alternately in Bavaria and North Carolina, the seat of the National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Cooperating for Healthy Living Conditions on Both Sides of the AtlanticThe working meetings of Helmholtz Zentrum München and the U.S. EPA bring together physicians, toxicologists, statisticians and epidemiologists of both institutions for an informal exchange of ideas. Results are discussed, and new research approaches for unresolved issues are developed. In Prien in Upper Bavaria, scientists from both institutions elucidate acute and chronic influences of the environment on the health of the population.
- David Diaz- Sanchez, director of the Clinical Research Branch at the U.S. EPA
- Lucas M. Neas, health scientist at U.S. EPA
- Robert B. Devlin, health scientist at U.S. EPA (bottom, from left)
“The joint workshops of Helmholtz Zentrum München and the U.S. EPA date back to a cooperation agreement from 1998. Groups from the two institutions had worked together on an informal level for many years previously. The cooperation agreement strengthened the existing synergies. Our first bilateral workshop took place in 1999 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and the workshop in Prien is meanwhile the seventh meeting of its kind.
The cooperation between the EPA and Helmholtz Zentrum München is a success story. Important publications would never have existed without this cooperation. The joint research has helped standards for the reduction of particulate pollution to be established and implemented in both countries. The current workshop is more than a continuation of previous work. New experimental methods, especially on the molecular level, have become available, and in many fields new approaches have been developed. An especially important issue has taken center stage in our meeting in Prien on Public Health: demands of society and social aspects, so that our results benefit the population.”
Hillel Koren, chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board of Helmholtz Zentrum München, is a co-founder of the cooperation with the American Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Prior to his retirement, Koren was director of the EPA Human Studies Division and research professor at the der University of North Carolina. He works as a consultant and reviewer for European and U.S. science organizations.
Annette Peters is director of the Institute of Epidemiology II at Helmholtz Zentrum München and head of the KORA research platform with long-term population studies. Peters was involved as scientific consultant in the assessment of the health effect of airborne pollutants by the World Health Organization WHO and the European Union. Since 2015 she has been a member of the Scientific Board of the National Cohort, Germany’s largest health study.