Air pollution and sub-optimal temperature (cold or heat) are the leading environmental risk factors for human health, and affect billions of people worldwide, particularly those living in low- and middle-income countries including China. Despite extensive research on their health effects on certain specific diseases (e.g. cardio-metabolic and respiratory diseases), uncertainties remain about the cause-effect nature of these associations, their relevance for many other diseases, and underlying biological mechanisms underpinning such associations. Building on our previous work on environmental factors we will continue to conduct multi-disciplinary research by integrating conventional and molecular epidemiology with exposure science, to investigate the short- and long-term health effects of these two major environmental risk factors on a broader range of diseases.
Our current and planned objectives are:
- to investigate the relationships of long-term domestic solid fuel use for cooking and heating with risks of a wide range of acute and chronic diseases;
- to examine patterns of short- and long-term exposure to ambient air pollution and its relationships with risk of specific diseases;
- to assess the patterns of ambient temperature variability and its associations with risks of specific diseases, both independently and jointly with exposure to air pollution;
- to explore and identify relevant biological pathways underlying the observed associations of air pollution and temperature exposures with specific diseases;
- to develop integrated personal air pollution and temperature exposure models and facilitate the use of low-cost static and wearable sensors in improving environmental exposure assessment in existing cohort studies.
Our work involves close collaboration with researchers in the UK, China, Singapore, and the United States. Apart from data from CKB, we also use and incorporate data from other large cohort studies, such as the UK Biobank and US Medicare Cohort Study.