Human Biomonitoring, Exposome, and Personalised Health

Swiss TPH has a long-standing expertise in biomarker research. It has set up state-of-the art bio-banking infrastructure to support human biomonitoring and exposome research. Human biomonitoring measures specific chemicals and molecules in accessible biomaterials such as blood or urine for improved and integrated measurement of exposure to chemicals in the environment, nutrition or other consumables. Exposome research can be viewed as an extension of human biomonitoring by applying personalised health technology (e.g. (environmental) sensoring technology; -omics technology) towards a better understanding of causal health risks and mechanisms.

Biomarkers and personalised health and medicine approaches form the basis of studies towards the identification of novel diagnostics and therapies and the refined characterisation of diseases and their infectious causes. Swiss TPH takes part in important  local, national, and international personalised health and biobanking initiatives.        

SAPALDIA allows Swiss TPH to study the interactions between environmental and genetic factors.


SAPALDIA is the largest national population-based cohort study in Switzerland, running since 1991.  The cohort includes a biobank consisting of different blood sample aliquots which are stored in Swiss TPH’s own biobanking facility. The blood has been submitted to various biomarker analysis (targeted and untargeted). Genome-wide and methylome-wide data has been obtained and is analysed for association with broad risk factor and disease profiles as available from SAPALDIA. SAPALDIA is the only Swiss-wide healthy citizen biobank.

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Swiss Biobank Platform

Swiss TPH is a founding member of the Swiss Biobanking Platform project. The Swiss Biobanking Platform is the national coordination platform for human and non-human biobanks and the national hub for the European biobanking network BBMRI. It develops and implements the relevant instruments and standards for high quality biomarker research as it becomes increasingly important in the era of personalised medicine and health research. Swiss TPH is responsible for the conduct of a proof-of-principle biobanking study assessing the instruments developed by the Swiss Biobanking Platform.

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Swiss TPH - through its SAPALDIA Biobank - participates in the EU funded EXPOsOMICS project. SAPALDIA has been an active member of the air pollution research community over the last 25 years. In the context of the EXPOsOMICS project, SAPALDIA has moved to the next stage of innovative environmental research and benefits from prospectively sampled biospecimens that are now subjected to –omics analyses. The goal of the project is to improve exposure assessment of air pollution. The air pollution effects on health are studied at the molecular level to better understand how inhaled pollutants lead to diseases such as asthma or cardiovascular disease.

Link to Project

Chronic Infections and NCDs in Côte d'Ivoire

Swiss TPH is applying its biobanking expertise to research projects in remote areas in low and middle income countries. This forms the basis for research into the genetic background of infections and of non-communicable diseases and into novel gene-environment interactions. The CoDuBu project studies the relationship between infections and non-communicable diseases. Its biobank consists of stool samples, dried blood spots and urine for future biomarker and –omics analyses. Based on this biobank, a novel disease understanding will evolve that can guide future "personalised" health interventions to tropical environments.

NCDs are on the rise in countries like Côte d'Ivoire.