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My research focuses on how the genetic background affects our susceptibility to the environment. It has long been known that we react differently to chemicals in the environment: some individuals develop disease very quickly while others stay healthy throughout life. Still, we have limited knowledge about what causes this individual susceptibility and probably differences in the genome role play a major role. I have mainly investigated susceptibility to metals - arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury - and my research has taken me to different parts of the world. For example, in studies from the Seychelles, we have identified genes that affect how much mercury we accumulate in the body. I also perform research on how chemicals in the environment, especially at workplaces, can damage the genome. The goal is to find biomarkers that predict the risk of developing disease. For example, we have shown that the working environment of welders and chimney sweeps, can lead to changes in the body similar to those in the development of lung cancer and myocardial infarction.



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