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NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Health Impact of Environmental Hazards

Organisational unit: Research Group

Contact information

150 Stamford Street
Franklin-Wilkins Building, 4th Floor
SE1 9NH
London
United Kingdom
  • Phone: 020 7848 3765

Organisation profile

The National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit in Health Impact of Environmental Hazards at King’s College London is a national Unit for environmental health research utlising improved exposure assessment methods to produce an integrated approach aimed at advancing knowledge and better informing environment and public health policy.

Environmental chemical and low level radiation exposure is a major underlying cause of chronic diseases and thus a considerable burden to the NHS. Both chemical and radiation exposure often occur over a lifetime and these chronic effects are incremental making the assessment of adverse outcomes, and the benefits of interventions, challenging. Furthermore, effects can be compounded and exacerbated by combined environmental stressors including chemicals, air pollution (gaseous and particulate), noise and inter-individual variation from different physical states (for example obesity and pre-existing disease) and genetic variation that gives rise to different susceptibilities. This HRPU will utilise advanced technology developments for analysing genes, proteins and chemicals (‘omic technologies) which now allow many more measurements of greater resolution to be conducted on samples than has been historically possible. These data when effectively analysed allow a much improved insight into exposure to and the effects of chemicals on physiological systems, particularly at low environmentally relevant levels. These developments create the opportunity for the integrated analysis of environment and health risks that take advantage of new technologies applied to large-scale population studies. We plan to utilise these improved exposure assessment methods including data geocoding and linkage along with ‘omic technologies to produce an integrated approach to environmental health research and risk assessment. This approach across our four themes will allow us to focus activity around a conceptual framework that examines links from the molecular level through man to populations across the life course to advance knowledge and better inform environment and public health policy.

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