Unit | Ecosystem Health Sciences

The Ecosystem Health Sciences unit examines in a holistic way how human health and wellbeing are related to behavioural, cultural, demographic, ecological, environmental and socioeconomic factors, and how anthropogenic processes govern health and wellbeing. The unit pursues a broadly applicable ecosystem health approach and employs a variety of research streams, from the bench to the field, from molecular to geospatial, from basic to operational. Evidence is strengthened through systematic reviews and meta-analyses.

Our Expertise

Our emphasis is on neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), particularly those caused by parasitic worm infections, malaria and water related diseases. The main areas of investigation include metabolic profiling, health impact assessment of large infrastructure development projects in complex eco-epidemiological settings, and epidemiology and integrated control of NTDs and malaria.

TDR-IDRC Research Initiative, Côte d'Ivoire

Interdisciplinary Approach

Different scientific fields are bridged in an interdisciplinary manner, hence both human and ecosystem health are investigated, protected and promoted. We work on health emerging issues linked to global change, climate change, urbanization and sustainable development related challenges. We promote integrated approaches.

Variety of Project Topics

We conduct projects covering a wide range of environmental and public health topics, e.g.: water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), intestinal parasitic infections and nutrition, urban ecosystems health, wastes recovery and reuse, nutrition and vaccination, helminthes and health, health impact assessment, adaptation to climate change in water and health sectors.

Collaboration

Collaboration with a strong network of health research and development centres in the South provides the backbone for linking innovative laboratory investigations with community-based intervention studies.

The unit closely collaborates with other groups and units across EPH and other departments of Swiss TPH. For example, collaboration with the Bayesian Modelling and Analysis group facilitates the development and validation of spatially explicit risk mapping and prediction of NTDs. The collaboration with the Environmental Exposure and Health Unit fosters multidisciplinary joint research projects on pesticides, air pollution, water quality and climate change.

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Winkler M.S, Fuhrimann S, Pham-Duc P, Cissé G, Utzinger J, Nguyen-Viet H. Assessing potential health impacts of waste recovery and reuse business models in Hanoi, Vietnam. Int J Public Health. 2017;62(Suppl 1):7-16. DOI: 10.1007/s00038-016-0877-x

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Bergquist R, Utzinger J, Keiser J. Controlling schistosomiasis with praziquantel: how much longer without a viable alternative?. Infect Dis Poverty. 2017;6(1):74. DOI: 10.1186/s40249-017-0286-2