Highlights from the EHEN Scientific Meeting and Policy-Research Event 2023

Mapping Exposure-Induced Immune Effects: Connecting the Exposome and the Immunome

Highlights from the EHEN Scientific Meeting and Policy-Research Event 2023

June 20, 2023

Around 140 attendees from the nine EHEN projects gathered to talk and exchange on everything exposome. Held in Leuven, Belgium and online from 30th May to 1st June, the  focus of the first two days was to share the progress and results of the projects’ research with members of the network.

The event was organised by the EXIMIOUS and LongITools project coordination teams, the current EHEN leads, and hosted at KU Leuven. It featured 62 presentations on all aspects of EHEN’s research, spanning an extraordinary range of topics. Notable themes included early life exposures, health effects of air and noise pollution, and projects focusing on urban design. Research techniques presented included statistical methods, metagenomic analysis, cell profiling, biomarkers, and Artificial Intelligence. Details of each project and links to their latest publications can be found on the EHEN website.

Day two wrapped up with an exhibition featuring posters, tools and product demonstrations from all nine projects. Some of the projects’ research tools and guidelines are already publicly available on the EHEN website via its Exposome Toolbox. The exhibition offered the EXIMIOUS team a great opportunity to not only display posters about their latest research but also showcase some of their technologies, devices, software, and instrumentation with hands-on demonstrations.

Members of EHEN in Leuven, Belgium

Exposome Research: Understanding and Addressing Policy Challenges

On day three, EHEN’s Communication, Dissemination and Policy Working Group invited environmental and health policy specialists to an open event with EHEN researchers. With a focus on exposome research-policy exchange, we took the opportunity to remind ourselves of the importance of collaborative research and the power of addressing key challenges from different perspectives. 

The event was a step forward in engaging with policymakers, at a point where results and publications from EHEN projects are gathering momentum. The key take-aways for EHEN are:

  • Continue to talk to one another and try to find opportunities for regular interaction and knowledge exchange. 
  • Respond promptly to requests for information from policymakers.
  • Share the key results and messages concisely, in language understood by non-technical experts, using clear terminology and without jargon.
  • Relate key messages to existing policies and initiatives and/or policy needs.
  • Regularly present results collectively, where possible, to ensure a more holistic view.

You can read about the policy-research event in more detail and watch the recording on the EHEN website.