Building a network of scientists exploring environmental impacts on our health

The International Human Exposome Network (IHEN) is bringing together researchers, policymakers, and independent experts to collaborate on and improve exposome research. This field explores how health is shaped by the combined impact of all the environmental factors people are exposed to throughout their lives.

In the past decade, more and more researchers have been taking a holistic approach when studying how environmental factors contribute to health and disease development. By building a worldwide network, the EU-funded IHEN project will develop a roadmap for future exposome research, provide tools and training opportunities and increase the impact of future studies in this field.

Collaboration is essential for developing a shared vision of how to comprehensively study environmental influences on human health in different parts of the world. I am excited to work on bringing together the diverse research disciplines and experts necessary to stimulate global exposome research.

Martine Vrijheid, Research Professor at ISGlobal and IHEN Project Co-coordinato

Our environment impacts our health

Exposure to air pollution and harmful chemicals, poor diet, and a lack of social support are examples of factors that can negatively impact health and make us more susceptible to developing various diseases.

Human exposome research examines the complete set of physical, chemical, biological, and psychosocial factors that influence our health, including how they interact with each other and our biological system. Understanding the human exposome is important to help policymakers identify and address harmful exposures.

A roadmap for studying environmental exposures

The IHEN project will gather input from researchers, policymakers, and other experts to understand their needs and find gaps in current exposome research. This will allow us to develop a roadmap for the future of exposome research and provide key guidance for a wide range of policies across the EU and beyond to better protect public health.

Tools and resources specialised for exposome research

Building on the success of the European Human Exposome Network (EHEN), the IHEN project will gather tools and data used in this field of research from across the globe. The resulting toolbox will help make exposome resources, data, and algorithms easily accessible to all interested researchers under the FAIR principles

Now is a critical moment to enhance global coordination, support, and implementation of exposome research. Given the vast and borderless nature of our environmental challenges, both present and future, it is imperative that we collaborate internationally to make a meaningful impact on public health.

Professor Roel Vermeulen
Roel Vermeulen, says Roel Vermeulen, Professor at Utrecht University and IHEN Project Co-coordinator.

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