The IUF genuine SALIA study and SALIA Family
The current investigation of the SALIA and SALIA Family study focuses on the effects of environmental pollution, especially particulate matter, and climatic factors, on health in the elderly and across generations. In addition, the study aims to understand chronic diseases with their complex and long history of development over several decades. A special focus in the current follow-up is the spread of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) and the associated preventive measures for containment. The project COVGENAIR is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and focuses on the influence of chronic diseases, genetics, and environmental factors on infection with the Sars-CoV-2 virus. The project is conducted in collaboration with the HMGU in Munich and uses the long-term data from the cohort studies (SALIA, GINIplus/LISA and KORA).
GINIplus and LISA: Birth cohort studies on the influence of air pollution, lifestyle and genetics on the development of atopies
Allergies such as eczema/neurodermatitis, hay fever, and asthma are increasing worldwide. In western, industrialized countries they are among the most frequent chronic illnesses. Although numerous national and international studies found associations with environmental and genetic determinants, knowledge about the development and manifestation of allergic diseases is still fairly limited. Today early childhood influences or influences even in pregnancy in combination with genetic factors are considered most important. Birth cohort studies, therefore, are central to the detection of pathogenetic mechanisms. Together with different groups throughout Germany, the Schikowski lab participates in the two birth cohort studies GINIplus and LISA. GINIplus (German Infant Study on the influence of Nutrition Intervention PLUS environmental and genetic influences on allergy development) started in 1996 and investigates allergy prevention by hydrolyzed formula milk in comparison with conventional cow milk-based formula and additionally the influence of environmental and genetic factors on the development of allergies. The LISA study (Influence of Life-style related factors on the development of the Immune System and Allergies in East and West Germany) started in 1997 with the aim to observe the development and natural course of atopic diseases (asthma, hay fever, neurodermatitis) and investigating various possible causes of these diseases in East and West Germany. Meanwhile data up to the 20th year of the children are available. Eczema is the earliest manifestation of allergic diseases (most children get eczema aged between 2 and 3) and thus is especially interesting for the investigation of early-life influences on allergy development. Since 2022, the 25 years examination of young adults is being conducted in which the working group Schikowski participates.
Participating external cooperation partners: Helmholtz Centre Munich, German Research Centre for Environmental Health, Institute of Epidemiology (M. Standl (PI)); Research Institute, Children´s Department, Marien-Hospital, Wesel (A. v. Berg , D. Berdel); Evangelisches Krankenhaus Düsseldorf, Children's Hospital, Düsseldorf (M. Gappa); Department of Pediatrics, Technical University of Munich (C.P. Bauer); Division of Paediatric Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich, Dr. von Hauner Children’s Hospital (S. Koletzko); The projects were initially funded by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building, and Nuclear Safety.
NAKO: The German National Cohort
The German National Cohort (GNC or NAKO Gesundheitsstudie) is so far the largest German health study. It aims at providing a comprehensive picture of the state of health of the population living in Germany and novel strategies for risk assessment, early recognition, and prevention of widespread diseases. 200,000 study participants (men and women aged between 20 and 69) were recruited nationwide. Together with the German Diabetes Center (DDZ), the IUF conducts a study center that examined 9,146 participants of the study population in the baseline investigation. The first postal follow-up of the NAKO participants’ progress started in 2017, and was conducted by IUF in Düsseldorf, the second follow-up examination started in 2019 and will be completed by the beginning of 2024. The second postal follow-up, and an additional COVID questionnaire, are carried out by the IUF. The German National Cohort is conducted in cooperation with other members of the research consortium German National Cohort and is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research, the Helmholtz Association, and the participating federal states. The study shall serve as a research platform for population-based health research.
Within the German National Cohort, the main tasks at the IUF are currently:
- Member of the Use and Access Committee of the NAKO and a member of the GNC Management Board (Board of Directors) (T. Schikowski)
- Member of the expert groups: Environment and cardio-vascular health (T. Schikowski)
- Scientific and administrative co-supervision of the study center in Düsseldorf (T. Schikowski)
- Responsibility for the postal follow-up questionnaires and the endpoint validation (E. Link)
- Provision of a study nurse for the study center at the DDZ, who conduct the examination (M. Frohnhoff)
Research training group (RTG) 2624: Biostatistical methods for high-dimensional data in toxicology
The research training group (RTG) 2624 is funded by the DFG (German Research Foundation) and the time period of the first phase is 04/2021-09/2025. Participating institutions together with the IUF are the Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, IfADo – Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors and the TU Dortmund. The aim of the RTG is the development and application of biostatistical methods for the analysis of high-dimensional data for modeling and risk assessment in toxicology. Doctoral researchers acquire knowledge in toxicology and the ability to develop and apply statistical methods for questions in pharmacological and environmental toxicology. In toxicology, innovative statistical methods are required to optimally exploit the ever-growing, heterogeneous, molecular flood of data for adequate modeling and risk prediction. In addition to conventional one-dimensional dose-response models, more complex models need to be developed. High-dimensional omics data are used in modeling both as an interaction factor for toxicological exposure and as a target.
Novel health care strategies for melanoma in children, adolescents and young adults (MELCAYA)
In childhood, adolescence and young adults (CAYA), melanoma is under-studied and non-existing tailored clinical guidelines and standardized approaches lead to a very low diagnostic accuracy. The MELCAYA project aims to understand risk factors and determinants of melanoma to improve the prevention, diagnosis and prognosis of melanomas in CAYAs. The Schikowski lab contributes together with the Krutmann lab to the identification of risk factors, exposomics and genetic susceptibility of melanoma in CAYAs. The funding is provided within the HORIZON-MISS-2021-Cancer-02-03 funding scheme (2022-2028).
Kanazawa University (Shika cohort study, Japan)
In a joint project with the Kanazawa University in Japan we are investigating and comparing gene-environment interactions in elderly German and Japanese women (Shika cohort, n=847) with a special focus on air pollution and lung health. Cooperation partners are the Departments of Hygiene and Public Health, Bioinformatics and Genomics and the graduate school of ‘Advanced preventive medical sciences’, Kanazawa University, Japan (Prof. Hiroyuki Nakamura and Dr. Akinori Hara).
Taizhou project (China)
The project „Air pollution exposure, its interaction with genes and the role of systemic inflammation on skin-related outcomes in an elderly Chinese population”, is a collaboration with the Max Planck-CAS Paul Gerson Unna Research Group on Dermatogenomics in Shanghai, China (cooperation partner: Dr. Sijia Wang). The study investigates the long-term effects of air pollution exposure on skin-related outcomes in an elderly Chinese population. The focus is on gene-air pollution interactions to identify possible susceptible groups and additionally focus on systemic inflammation and its role in skin-related outcomes after long-term air pollution exposure. This project is in close collaboration with the working group Krutmann. The external collaboration partners are Prof. Li Jin, Prof. Theresa Wang and Prof. Haidong Kan (Fudan University, Shanghai, China). The project is supported by the joint IUF-PICB research project as well as industrial funding.
CASAI cohort (India)
The project “Climate, air pollution and skin aging in Indian women (CASAI)”, is a collaboration with the Centre for Environmental Science and Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, Mumbai, India (cooperation partner: Dr. Harish Phuleria). The study investigates the long-term effects of climate and air pollution exposure on extrinsic skin aging signs in Indian women above the age of 20 years. The study focuses on the interactive effect of climate and air pollution together which have been identified as important environmental factors to induce premature skin aging signs. India, with diverse climatic conditions, extreme temperatures and high air pollution exposure, provides an opportunity to discover extrinsic skin aging signs in a population which is ethnically and socioeconomically different from Western and other Asian countries. The cohort was established between the years 2018-2020 in three major metropolitan cities of India: Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore, and examined 1500 participants in the baseline investigation. This project is in close collaboration with the working group Krutmann and is supported by funding from Amway.