People walking down the street in London

What do we do?

We are an international centre of excellence for research into, and training on, the health effects of environmental pollutants, and translating this knowledge to inform national and international policies in order to improve health. 

Our key areas of research are:

  • Environmental impacts on health
    • using routinely collected datasets on health and environment
    • using new individual level studies on a small scale such as exposure monitoring studies, or large-scale epidemiological cohort studies
  • Enhancing understanding of mechanistic pathways from exposure to disease and gene-environment interactions in the form of the exposome.

The Department’s work in environmental epidemiology falls within the MRC-PHE Centre for Environment and Health, which includes the Small Area Health Statistics Unit (SAHSU).


How do we do it?

We are a multi-disciplinary research cluster, covering a wide range of techniques and approaches; using advanced geographical information systems (GIS) and statistical modelling techniques, combined with experimental data, environmental monitoring, biomarker and mechanistic studies, and analyses of large population cohorts to tackle environmental health problems of key public health and scientific importance.

We undertake a range of methodological work to underpin our research, and also develop tools to facilitate risk assessment. 


Why is it important?

The effects of the environment on health is an issue that affects the whole public, and as such has the potential to cause ill health and early death across the population. It is essential to identify and quantify the risks, and also to investigate causal mechanisms through such methods as identifying biomarkers. This work can then be translated into relevant and useful advice for policymakers and industry.