Chronic Disease Epidemiology

Non-communicable disease (NCD)-related incidence and mortality has substantially increased globally. Their primary prevention is of great importance, as diagnosis and treatment of chronic diseases are expensive and closely linked to poverty. In the context of large, nationally and internationally embedded cohorts and biobanks, such as the SAPALDIA cohort, the unit conducts broad-scale research on the complex causes of NCDs. Due to the global increase in urbanization, research focuses on the independent and combined effects of physical and built environment, environmental hazards such as air pollution or noise, lifestyle, social network and endogenous susceptibility factors on health-related subclinical and clinical phenotypes. Our research covers all major NCDs, including cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, COPD, asthma, and other respiratory diseases. Major preventive lifestyle factors, like physical activity, are tested for effectiveness in intervention studies. Environmental exposures, such as air pollution, are assessed for their contribution to disease burden. Genomic factors are assessed for their public health relevance. Staff expertise is also applied both locally and globally in policy formation and teaching activities.

Research Groups

The unit consists of two research groups: