Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences

Module Information
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BBS3026  - Environmental Sustainability and Human Health

Period 2: from 30-10-2023 to 22-12-2023
Coordinator: Briede, J.
ECTS credits: 12
Language of instruction: English

Publication dates timetable/results in the Student Portal

Deadline publication timetable
The date on which the timetable of this module is available: 13-10-2023

Deadline publication final result
The date on which the final grade of this module is available: 17-1-2024

Resit booking

Exam booking for a test in current academic year (resit)
You will be booked automatically for the resit in one of our resit periods. You may check our calenders to find out which modules can be retaken and when: https://intranet.maastrichtuniversity.nl/nl/fhml-studenten/studieverloop/wanneer-wat
As of one week before the resit test takes place, you can check in Student Portal if you are booked correctly: Student Portal > My Courses > More actions. The test will also be visible in your time table.

Exam booking for a test from a previous academic year (exam only)
All students who have not passed the test for this module in a previous academic year, will be booked automatically for the test during the regular block period. You will be enrolled in the new course in Canvas but not scheduled for a tutorial group and other educational activities. If you do not wish to participate in this test at the end of the regular block period please de-register via askFHML.

Though great care has been taken to assure the accuracy of the information on fhmlweb, the FHML cannot be held responsible for possible printing errors, incomplete information, or misinterpretations. Additionally, the FHML reserves the right to make changes to this information.

Course information

Description: EN:

Epidemiological studies have linked several environmental pollutants to increased risks of developing (chronic) diseases in humans. For instance, increased levels of particulate air pollution during lifetime are associated to higher risks of developing asthma, but also lung cancer. Moreover, higher levels of heavy metals such as lead or pesticides, ingested through e.g. contaminated food, can increase the risk of developing neurodegenerative disease like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease in later life. Identifying these toxicological risks and subsequently to manage these is crucial for human health. This minor course will focus on understanding the influences and impact of environmental factors on humans. The course core concept is based on the risk governance framework wherein the main focus will be on the research information and needs within this framework.  

Goals: EN:

The course will cover 5 main topics that will support the understanding of this framework:

     1) Basic understanding of the principles of toxicology: What is toxicity, how can we classify different compounds (e.g. PFAS, PCB’s, PAH’s) for e.g. carcinogenicity, how are we exposed (Environment-effect chain), what is the dose response relationship etc.

     2) Understanding of different study designs to assess toxicity and the differences and (dis)advantages if comparing human epidemiology, animal and in vitro (cellular: 2D/3D models, non-cellular) studies.

     3) (NMR, MS and ESR/EPR spectroscopy). For most techniques a side-visit to see the analytical techniques will be included. Theoretical and practical insight into different analytical tools used in toxicology research, namely electrophoresis (gel-, affinity-, capillary- and immuno-electrophoresis) and spectroscopy

     4) Data-analysis and applications of (toxico)genomics and in-silico studies to assess toxicity, including a computer practical where students will be able to work on their own data-set for a specific compound

     5)  Understanding of the risk governance framework for risk assessment and management of (complex) risks, with air pollution as an example.

Practical skills: Practical performing ESR/EPR spectroscopy and computer practical for analysis of toxicogenomics datasets, as well as site-visits for demonstration of the analytical techniques on-site. You will conduct you own Toxicogenomics project, thereby working on actual research data comprising human demographic and exposure data as well as high-dimensional transcriptomics data derived from human blood cells. The aim of the project is to decipher the molecular impact of environmental pollutants on human health. Therefore, you will apply fundamental bioinformatics and statistics approaches to identify genes and pathways which may contribute to the chain of events connecting environmental exposure to increased risk of chronic diseases. Moreover, the results will be interpreted with respect to improving our understanding of the pathogenesis of environmentally-induced diseases, identifying at-risk populations, and potentially discovering of pre-clinical markers of disease related to environmental exposures 

Key words: EN:
environmental, health, risk governance framework, analytical techniques, bioinformatics, chromatography, mass spectrometry,
Literature: This is the link to Keylinks, our online reference list.  
Teaching methods:
  • Assignment(s)
  • Work in workgroup(s)
  • Lecture(s)
  • Paper(s)
  • Problem Based Learning
  • Presentation(s)
  • Research
  • Skills
  • Training(s)
  • Working visit(s)
Assessments methods:
  • Assignment
  • Attendance
  • Final paper
  • Participaion
  • Presentation

This page was last modified on:26-4-2023
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