CREAL. Centre for research in environmental epidemiology


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CREAL celebrates 10 years of excellence in research in environmental health

CREAL has organized a symposium to discuss the future of environmental epidemiology

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

CREAL celebrates 10 years of excellence in research in environmental health

Barcelona, November 25th 2015.

In only 10 years CREAL has become, under the CERCA model for research and the more general promotion of research in Catalonia, an important international centre for research in environmental health and one of the top biomedical research centres in Spain. CREAL’s Board of Trustees comprises representatives of the Catalan Government, Parc de Salut MAR and the Pompeu Fabra University. At its tenth anniversary CREAL researchers have led 11 European projects and 43 work packages in 26 other European projects. According the index SCIMAGO 2014 (2010-2014), CREAL occupies the first place in normalized impact factor and the second place in level of excellence among all research centres in Spain. CREAL researchers have an important advisory role in international bodies such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

The origin of CREAL: research in the service of public health.

CREAL, which is located in the facilities of the Biomedical Research Park of Barcelona (PRBB), was founded in December 2005. Its origin was the epidemiological research activities carried out by the Research Unit of Respiratory and Environmental Health at the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM), led by Dr. Josep M Antó, Dr. Manolis Kogevinas and Dr. Jordi Sunyer, director and joint scientific directors of CREAL respectively. Dr. Antó remarks that "during 10 years CREAL's research has contributed to provide scientific evidence for many decisions and public health policies of a wide range of institutions around the world, such as the Parliament of Catalonia or the US Environmental Protection Agency. The commitment to public health and health protection is what inspired CREAL during these 10 years. The integration with ISGlobal further promotes the focus of research and action to the service of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged populations around the world."

Dr. Jordi Sunyer stresses that "the Global Burden of Disease study shows that air pollution is among the ten most important determinants of health, even more important than cholesterol. In recent years we have discovered that pollution affects prenatal growth, birth weight, respiratory symptoms in the early years, the growth of lung function and mental development."

International leader in its field

Currently, CREAL employs 125 people distributed in six different research programs, spanning a wide range of environmental exposures, like air pollution, radiation and water pollution, and effects on health, particularly on children's health, cancer and respiratory disease. CREAL has 13 research groups and 58 researchers, from senior to pre-doctoral researchers. It also involves statistical, technical and administrative support for research.

The CREAL Scientific Advisory Committee, chaired until November 2014 by Professor Jonathan Samet, director of the Institute for Global Health at the University of Southern California, and since that date by Professor David Savitz, vice president for Research and Professor of Epidemiology at Brown University, acknowledged in his last visit that “CREAL has emerged as a major European centre for environmental epidemiology, in fact, a global leader, in carrying out research of the highest quality and leading many European collaborations”.

The future

CREAL an ISGlobal allied centre, similar to all research centres in Spain, has suffered the effects of the economic crisis, although it has remained an international reference in research thanks mainly to European funding for research and the support by the Trustees. The new Institute of Global Health will expand the research topics and the application of this research for the prevention of disease, globally including infectious and chronic diseases. Dr. Manolis Kogevinas explains that "the future in research will become even more competitive at European and international level. In recent years, the alliance between CREAL and ISGlobal has developed an innovative research cluster with capacity to address the challenges in the field of global health, including infectious and non-communicable diseases, with special emphasis on environmental determinants of health. The integration of CREAL in ISGlobal will create one of the largest centres of global health at international level".

On November 27th, in the framework of the 10thcentre’s anniversary, CREAL organizes a symposium that will bring together young scientific leaders in the field of public health to discuss the future of environmental epidemiology over the next 20 or 30 years and discuss on which risks should be studied and which will be the available study methods and tools in the future. 

More information:

Program: “Symposium: Future of Environmental Epidemiology”


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Raül Toran

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