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The Theme’s research aims to increase understanding of the links between our environment and human and wildlife health. We also strive to improve human and ecosystem health through applied research that improves the quality of our natural environments; providing cleaner water, air and safer and healthier foods and medicines. 

The group has considerable expertise in chemicals, health and the environment, winning a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for research revealing the link between chemicals in rivers and reproductive health. Our researchers have world-leading track records in environmental chemistry, toxicology and ecotoxicology, and our facilities include state-of-the-art equipment for the chemical analysis of samples and molecular and cell biology.

There are several research clusters:

Environmental Change 

We aim to conduct research to improve the forecasting and response to environmental change. Expertise and track records of members are in the complementary areas of predictive environmental and health modelling, disaster management, understanding and building ecological resilience (using paleoecological research and restoration ecology). 

Environmental Health and Ecosystems

We aim to increase our knowledge of environmental exposures as well as the biological responses to these exposures and the implications for human and wildlife health through mechanism-based risk assessment. We study chemicals, health and the environment (particularly endocrine-disrupting chemicals, pharmaceuticals and environmental carcinogens) and we develop model systems and assays for screening chemicals. We have expertise in environmental chemistry, toxicology, and ecotoxicology. 

Biological Pathways and Systems

We aim to provide a strong fundamental biological foundation for prevention science for environmental health. We investigate basic biological processes associated with health and illness, focusing on signalling pathways and systems that are susceptible to the effects of environmental stressors. Particular foci include pathways exploited during the induction of malignant transformation by environmental carcinogens and those exploited by endocrine disrupting chemicals. Our research addresses various levels of biological organization including molecular, cellular, model organism and population, utilising new tools, techniques and model systems both in vitro and in vivo.

Environmental Solutions

The environment must be protected to preserve essential ecosystem functions and to provide for the wellbeing of future generations. We aim to improve environmental quality through a variety of engineering and management approaches aimed at promoting clean and healthy environments and safe and healthy food and medicines. We have particular expertise in the monitoring and improvement of the quality of air and water and in extracting natural products using countercurrent chromatography pioneered at Brunel.

Environmental Policy and Communication 

We aim to mobilise expertise in risk and crisis communication and methods for the evaluation of scientific evidence in decision-making in environmental policy.