The EU-funded exposome research project ATHLETE – Advancing Tools for Human Early Lifecourse Exposome Research and Translation – launched this week with a kick-off meeting in Barcelona. ATHLETE is a consortium of 22 partners from 11 European countries and the United States.
The project aims to study the effects of many environmental hazards on human health from preconception to adolescence. The final goal of the project is to develop a toolbox that can be used to evaluate the effects of a large group of environmental exposures in individuals as well as in communities in order to design policies and interventions to prevent exposures and to reduce health impacts.
The exposome concept implies a shift of perspective in the research of how environmental hazards affect human health. Instead of looking at the consequences that each exposure could have on a living system, the exposome takes into account all the exposures an individual is subjected to from conception to death. The exposome takes into account all those elements we are exposed to via our diet, lifestyle and the environment we live and work in, as well as internal biological factors such as metabolism, gut microbiota, inflammation and oxidative stress.
Dr Lesley Hoyles of the AROM research group will lead the microbiome part of this ambitious project, processing samples and analysing shotgun metagenomic data derived from over 1000 children enrolled in the study.
(This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 874583. This post reflects only the author's view and the European Commission cannot be held responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.)
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