Human Exposure Science

María Pilar Plaza García Ph.D.
Research Group Leader Human Exposure Science
Environmental Medicine
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About our Research

Pollen-associated allergies have increased significantly in recent decades. International studies have also documented a progressive global increase in the burden of allergic diseases in the industrialized world over the past decades. Environmental changes of any kind that affect the patient and/or the allergen carrier must have led to a change in the immunity level over time and an increased occurrence of allergies. Air pollution, lifestyle, and the actual amount and allergenicity of pollen counts influence each other and the exact relationship between these factors is still unclear. Climate change is also changing the ecosystem. Air quality, vegetation and land use changes, plant diversity and distribution have changed the pollen season, pollen abundance and allergenicity.

 

In two different but interconnected research groups, quantitative and qualitative pieces of information and conduct laboratory-based experiments and field studies are collected and analyzed . The more we know about which environmental factors exactly have which effects, the more we will be able to improve public health.

 

The main mission is to understand the formation, release, transport, transformation and removal of bioaerosols in the atmosphere and how this affects the general environment and the health in particular.

 

Maria Plaza's young group focuses mainly on three areas of distinction: on exposure and human health, forecasts of aeroallergens and on atmospheric processes such as the detection of bioaerosols in real-time. Detection and mathematical modelling go hand in hand, often involving field work, laboratory work and use of computer clusters within a BIG data environment.

 

Dac-Loc Nguyen's group concentrates on bio-chemical monitoring of patients with COVID-19-infection. Well-characterized allergic asthma and healthy control groups will be observed to explore their wide range of environmental exposures. This will help to identify and determine whether other co-factors are modifying this connection in combination with cohort group and translational cell culture studies. In addition, the COVID-19 viral load of the surrounding environment/air of COVID-19-patients from mild to severe status will be measured (in the hospital/Intensive Care Units) at different heights and distances from patients in order to assess the infection risk to healthcare workers and make suggestions for pathogen-related device treatment procedures.

Team

Anja Fusco
Medical-technical Assitant
Environmental Medicine
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Email:
Caroline Holzmann
Student (Ph.D.)
Environmental Medicine
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Email:
Sigrid Kaschuba Dipl.-Geogr.
Technical Assistent
Environmental Medicine
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Email:
Vivien Leier-Wirtz
Biological-technical Assistant
Environmental Medicine
Email:

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