Posted: 25/11/19

An international expert speaking at a public lecture to mark the launch of the HELICAL project, an innovative training network funded by the European Horizon 2020 programme led by Trinity College Dublin’s School of Medicine and the SFI ADAPT Research Centre, highlighted evidence of links between pollution and the rise of autoimmune diseases.

Professor Xavier Rodó Lopez of ISGlobal is the primary supervisor on the research project ‘Atmospheric monitoring and time series analysis of climate and pollution on vasculitis onset’ in the HELICAL network which involves 23 partners across Europe working on linking healthcare data in autoimmune disease.  During his talk he discussed in particular his research on the effects of atmospheric physical and chemical determinants in vasculitis such as Kawasaki disease, a condition that mainly affects children under five years of age.

The event highlighted how advances in information science and artificial intelligence (AI) are providing unprecedented opportunities for using health related datasets to reveal links to disorders that are influenced by environmental triggers.  HELICAL, coordinated by Professor of Nephrology and Consultant Nephrologist Mark Little of Trinity College Dublin, exploits recent advances in data science to link research datasets with longitudinal healthcare records to address key experimental questions.  HELICAL links researchers at Trinity College Dublin’s ADAPT Centre, School of Medicine and School of Computer Science and Statistics, with Tallaght University Hospital researchers, and involves 23 partners across Europe working on linking healthcare data in autoimmune disease.

Professor Lopez was former head of the Climate Research Laboratory at the University of Barcelona and currently leads the CLIMA Program in ISGlobal, the Barcelona Institute for Global Health.  His main interest lies in the area of climate and health, where he attempts to uncover how climate impacts a wide range of diseases and ailments. 

The lecture was targeted at members of the public, healthcare professionals and scientists interested in learning more about the way in which data science can be used to link climate and health to uncover the reasons that people develop autoimmune disease.

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