Project Newsletter | Spring 2022

Coordinator's greetings

I’m happy to introduce you HEDIMED, a large research consortium which seeks for solutions to a huge medical and socio-economic problem – immune mediated diseases. These diseases are common, and increasing rapidly in developed countries, and environmental factors are driving this increase. However, many of these factors are still unknown, yet their identification would be the key to effective prevention. HEDIMED explores these factors by a unique joint research effort of 22 institutions and large birth cohorts studying various exposures during pregnancy and in early childhood. Our approach stems from the exposome concept which refers to the importance of all kinds of environmental exposures we face during our life. HEDIMED focuses on allergies, asthma, type 1 diabetes and celiac disease, as these diseases are common and start often in childhood. Moreover, the underlying mechanisms are believed to be similar in many other immune-mediated diseases.

Our newsletter is meant to serve a wide range of readers. The first issue focuses on the presentation of HEDIMED and the exposome. We wish to welcome you to this mission. To join the community and to never miss an update, please subscribe to our newsletter.

Best regards,
Heikki Hyöty

EXPOSOME & Immune-mediated diseases

Our work is based on the research of the exposome and it’s impact on human health. The exposome covers all the environmental exposures throughout life from conception onwards. The exposome can be divided into three categories: the general external exposome, the specific external exposome and the internal exposome.

The general external environment covers socio-economic, climate and living environment factors whereas the specific external environment covers e.g. pollutants, infections and lifestyle factors. The internal exposome includes factors within the body such as the microflora, inflammation, metabolism and hormones.

HEDIMED in a nutshell

Human Exposomic Determinants of Immune Mediated Diseases = HEDIMED

Million €
Work Packages

HEDIMED includes early-age trials using exposomic interventions as well as prospective observational follow-up cohorts. We use state-of-the-art omics and other methodologies to investigate the impact of both internal and external exposomic variables. Another major objective is to create new intelligent sensors that can detect exposomic determinants.

Rather than a single determinant, a combination of several protective and risk determinants is critical for the development of immune-mediated diseases, including both disease-specific determinants and determinants that are common to several dieases.

Key outcomes

  • To identify and model exposomic factors relevant for four immune-mediated diseases (IMDs): type 1 diabetes, asthma, allergy and celiac disease
  • Characterize biological pathways and mechanisms mediating the effect of exposome
  • Develop new sensor technologies for the characterization of exposome and its role in IMDs
  • Develop methods for modelling the effect of exposome on risk of IMDs on population and individual level
  • Create an exposome toolbox that is open to stakeholders and can be used for exposome-disease association and prediction

Work packages

HEDIMED includes 13 Work Packages that communicate with each other to produce a fluent flow of information. This starts with the harmonisation of data from clinical cohorts and extends to the wide range of different analyses of the samples collected in these cohorts.

Latest News & Science

Tampere by winter

HEDIMED is finally heading towards science and analyses! Read the latest updates of HEDIMED from the beginning of the year 2022.


What’s behind the “epidemic of immune-mediated diseases”?

Why is the incidence of immune-mediated diseases increasing? What can we do to influence the epidemic? Check our latest blog post for the hypotheses behind our work!

Read this post

Why do we need birth cohorts?

Why use certain study design? What are the pros and cons of different cohort types? Read our experts’ insight of the importance of cohorts in environmental health research.

Read this post

Upcoming Events

HEDIMED Consortium meeting, May '22

After two years of remote work, the project is finally meeting again for partners and contributors. The consortium meeting will be held in Prague on 3rd-5th May ’22.

EHEN Scientific meeting, May '22

The EHEN network of 9 EU-funded exposome research projects will get together for a Scientific Meeting in Barcelona on 24th-25th May ’22.

The European Human Exposome Network

The European Human Exposome Network (EHEN) is the world’s largest network of projects studying the impact of environmental exposure on human health. It brings together 9 EU research projetcs that address issues such as exposures to air quality, noise, chemicals, urbanisation etc. and health impacts. 

Read more about EHEN and see their latest news.

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