A critical component of the Exposome is linking exogenous exposures to both internal dose and associated biological response. For example: we can measure acute exposure to pollutants, drugs, nutrients in blood or urine; exposure to these compounds can initiate local and global changes in gene methylation and transcription, and metabolite and microbiome pathway alterations. As a result, micro- and macroscale interactions occur among these systems that can be characterised to study exposure–response relationships. Measurements can provide information on acute biological responses that occur at a biologically relevant dose and also on whether long-term alterations in physiology—that is, markers of exposure memory—have been detected from environmental stressors occurring years or decades before.
We know far less about the exposome than we do about the human genome. So far, we only understand about half of the disease burden for which we know the environment plays a role. If we want to prevent people from becoming ill, then we need to understand the other half too. We therefore want to systematically analyse the exposome for the first time. We will start with research into the causes of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. The techniques and insights from this research will also be applicable to other chronic conditions.Read More