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Research into the impact of non-genetic factors on health

Which groups are affected by certain chronic diseases, and which groups aren’t? This depends on genetics (30%) and on the exposome (70%). A consortium led by Professor Roel Vermeulen, affiliated with Utrecht University and University Medical Center Utrecht, will investigate which factors of the exposome are important for health and how these factors work.

Vermeulen explains the exposome: ‘In our daily lives, we make all kinds of choices that have a major impact on our health. By exposome, we mean all kinds of factors in everyday life, including what we eat and drink, the air we breathe, our social interactions and lifestyle choices such as smoking and exercise. The individual’s biological response to these factors also forms part of this exposome.’

Much remains to be discovered about the exposome, and therefore about the development of chronic diseases. To this end, the consortium has been awarded 17,4 million euros from the prestigious Gravitation Grant. The participating institutes themselves are contributing more than 8 million euros.

Read more at the website of Utrecht University.

Photo: Marte Hofsteenge.