Workpackage 1 – The roles of environment/exposome/reactome in atopic diseases

Lead: Prof. Dr. med. Claudia Traidl-Hoffmann, München
Allergy represents an environmental disease, where the environment is defined as the sum of exposure to physical, biological and psychosocial factors. The primary goal of WP1 is to identify environmental factors responsible for allergy initiation and perpetuation but also allergy remedies. This in turn represents a prerequisite for the development of prevention strategies to contain allergy-epidemics.
In the past "genes" were the first factors scientists thought to be central for susceptibility to allergic diseases. The environment gained significant importance when the environmental impact became measurable on the basis of epigenetics: Epigenetics represents one answer on how environment and environmental changes impact individuals. As a prerequisite for understanding and controlling allergy, we thus need to "measure" environment and environmental changes as a first step. In our research approach the view of "environment" is holistic as stated above. The CK-CARE consortium has a unique alliance of basic researchers and physician scientists to face the emerging field of microbiome research. Therefore we address microbiome analysis from the descriptive to the functional aspect in atopic diseases. 

  • WP 1 will identify environmental factors that influence the natural course of allergic reactions. In particular, analyses of the "immediate environment" of allergy patients will focus on the bacterial colonisation (microbiome) of the skin.
  • The identification, characterisation and functional analysis of these environmental factors are a basic requirement in understanding environment-host interactions in detail (the findings will provide basis for studies in the other workpackages).
  • The simulation of various climatic scenarios in greenhouse climate chambers will allow to understand what allergic patients have to expect in terms of pollen burden and pollen’s allergenicitiy