Mapping exposure-induced immune effects: connecting the exposome and the immunome

The EXIMIOUS consortium—gathering experts in immunology, toxicology, clinical medicine, environmental hygiene, epidemiology, bioinformatics and sensor development—will bring about a new way of assessing the human exposome by linking innovative ways of characterizing and quantifying multiple and combined environmental exposures (exposomics) with high-dimensional immunophenotyping and profiling platforms to map early immune effects induced by these exposures (immunomics).

In several cohorts—covering the entire lifespan, including prenatal life—we will map exposome, immune system (immunome), and other omics and clinical and socio-economic data, using two main methodologies—one starting from the exposome, the other starting from health effects—that ‘meet in the middle’.

We will use novel bioinformatics tools, based on systems immunology and machine learning to integrate and analyse these datasets and to construct ‘immune fingerprints’ that reflect a person’s lifetime exposome and identify ‘immune fingerprints’ that are early signs of poor health and predictors of disease at an individual level.

We will build a multifaceted toolbox for researchers, policy makers, clinicians and the general public containing the exposome/immunome tools developed during the project to help assess the impact of the exposome on the immune system at the level of individuals and populations. This will allow policy makers to design preventive policies to reduce healthcare and socioeconomic costs.

The project profile paper, Mapping exposure-induced immune effects: connecting the exposome and the immunome” outlines how the Eximious project will gather experts in immunology, toxicology, occupational health, clinical medicine, exposure science, epidemiology, bioinformatics, and sensor development to assess eleven European study populations, covering the entire lifespan, including prenatal life. (Ronsmans, S., Hougaard, K. S., Nawrot, T. S., Plusquin, M., Huaux, F., Cruz, M. J., … & Hoet, P. H. (2022). The EXIMIOUS project—Mapping exposure-induced immune effects: connecting the exposome and the immunome. Environmental Epidemiology, 6(1).)

Prof Peter Hoet
Head, Unit of Environment and Health. KU Leuven, Belgium
  • Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium (Project Coordination)
  • Aarhus University, Denmark
  • Accelopment, Switzerland
  • Babraham Institute, United Kingdom
  • Belgian Center for Occupational Hygiene Belgium
  • Biogenity BioG, Denmark
  • Copenhagen Capital Region Denmark
  • IMEC, Belgium
  • Louvain Centre for Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, Belgium
  • Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Norway
  • National Research Centre for the Working Environment, Denmark
  • Queen’s University Belfast, United Kingdom
  • University of Hasselt, Belgium
  • University of Medicine, Pharmacy, Science and Technology of Targu Mures, Romania
  • Vall D’Hebron Research Institute, Spain
January 28, 2020