Group leader: Ben Spycher, PD PhD
The group “Environmental & Spatial Epidemiology” focuses on the spatial and temporal patterns of disease occurrence, particularly of cancer, and investigates links with environmental exposures. For this purpose, we seek to maximise the use of existing routine datasets including cancer registries and administrative datasets.
Our research focuses mainly on potential risk factors of childhood cancers including ionizing radiation, air pollution, electromagnetic fields, and parental occupational exposures. This work is based on combined data from the national Childhood Cancer Registry (ChCR) and the Swiss National Cohort. A major challenge is estimating individual exposure to environmental factors of interest based on the information available from these routine datasets. This typically involves the use of job exposure matrices or geographic exposure models, or both, to estimate exposures based on occupational or residential information, respectively. We also participate in multi-national collaborative studies on potential risk factors of childhood cancer. Our work also includes exploratory investigations of the geographic distribution of cancer using Bayesian spatial modelling, tests for spatial and spatio-temporal clustering, and cluster detection methods.