Torkjel Sandanger

My current research focus is on the use of different “omics” to better study the effects of environmental stressors, as a link between exposure and health endpoints. Some of this work was recently published on dynamics of smoking and DNA methylation in two European Cohorts. We are also planning to combine gene expression data and DNA methylation data in order to improve our understanding of the observed effects and the possible biological understanding.

Before this my research focus the last 10 years has been on environmental contaminants and human health. Through my research I have been trying to merge environmental chemistry and epidemiology, where my students have been involved both in the laboratory and the statistical analysis.

Cross sectional and prospective designs have been utilised at both the smaller community based surveys and larger national as well as international populations based investigations. Through this unique combination of research fields I have considerable insight into the chemistry of molecules and how contaminants potentially influence human health and at the same time keeping the public health perspective as an important and even essential part of the projects.

My major scientific contribution has been the development and combination of environmental chemistry and human epidemiology into new fields of research that more easily integrates the environmental exposure (both short term and long term) component in larger epidemiological studies. When including “omics” in these projects we are more likely to be able to study causality and not only associations in studies of risk factors and human health. Through the close collaboration with colleagues at the department we have also included the nutritional aspect in studies on diet and contaminants. This has been especially important in our projects on benefits and disadvantages with seafood.