Scientific sessions, CRG Group Leader Seminars
Environmental Exposures on Child Health and Development Group, Child Health Programme, ISGlobal-Campus Mar
Martine Vrijheid is Research Professor in the Child Health Programme of ISGlobal. She received her doctorate degree from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) in 2000. She then took up a position as staff scientist at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) to work on the health effects of exposure to ionizing and non-ionizing radiation. She joined CREAL in 2008 and from then she has honed in her research activities on the topic of environmental (chemical, physical) exposures and child health. She is co-PI and head of the executive committee of the INMA birth cohort study in Spain. She leads the FP7 funded HELIX (Human Early Life Exposome) project, a large collaborative project involving birth cohorts in 6 European countries. Through HELIX she has spearheaded the push to collect better and more complete data on multiple exposures during early life critical periods. As PI of two previous European grants, ENRIECO (Environmental Health Risks in European Birth Cohorts) and CHICOS (Developing a Child Cohort Strategy in Europe) she has been instrumental in the building of a network of birth cohorts in Europe, resulting in a framework for data sharing and harmonization across more than 30 European birth cohorts. She further leads several national projects (Marato TV3, FIS, RecerCaixa) to investigate the role of different chemical and urban environment exposures in the development of childhood obesity (environmental obesogens).
The “exposome” concept was proposed to encompass the totality of exposures from conception onwards, complementing the genome. Environmental hazards form an important, but heterogeneous, interacting, and inaccurately estimated part of disease causation. The exposome responds to the need for more complete and accurate individual-level exposure data that is required to estimate the largely unknown environmental component of chronic disease risk across the life course. Indeed, more than 50% of NCD causes remain unknown.
HELIX (the Human Early Life Exposome) is a collaborative research project commissioned in the European Commission’s FP7 exposome programme. HELIX uses six existing, prospective birth cohort studies to measure many chemical and physical environmental hazards in food, consumer products, water, air, noise, and the built environment, in pre and postnatal periods, and link these with molecular omics profiles (of metabolites, proteins, RNA transcripts and DNA methylation) and child health outcomes.