Arctic Health and Molecular Epidemiology

The Research Unit for Arctic Health & Molecular Epidemiology focuses on environmental risk factors for Arctic and non-Arctic populations. We use epidemiology and mechanistic toxicology to study chemical exposures and effects on the reproductive-, immune-, neuro-, and endocrine system.

Everyday life causes exposure to many chemicals simultaneously. We focus on understanding the effects of chemical mixtures with unique experimental methods, assessing biological effects of chemical mixtures extracted from human blood samples.

Chemicals from the industrialised world, transported to the Arctic via atmosphere and ocean, accumulate through the food chain, thus affecting the lifestyle and health of Arctic populations. And the diet is shifting from traditional marine food to more imported food items, increasing the risk of some types of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, obesity and diabetes.

We also monitor lifestyle, chemical exposure and health risk of mothers, fathers and their children, from pregnancy to grownup, including gene–environment interactions and genetic susceptibility. These long-term data elucidate whether exposure during gestation can lead to diseases later in life.


The Research Unit for Arctic Health & Molecular Epidemiology has expertise and experience in a variety of methods and technologies used for studying populations, measuring hormone disruption, and measuring cellular oxidative stress and DNA changes:

  • Monitoring the accumulation of environmental chemicals and metals in populations
  • Determining biological effects of serum POP mixtures using SPE-HPLC fractioning. Examples of POPs: PCB, DDT/DDE, and Perfluoroalkylated Substances (PFAS).
  • Epidemiological studies focusing on environmental exposure, lifestyle, diet and health, including reproduction, fetal and child development, cancer, obesity, and allergies
  • Measuring DNA changes (methylation and broken/damaged DNA)
  • Comparing genotypes among Inuits and Europeans  
  • Comparative Arctic exposure studies among Inuit, fauna, and the atmosphere.

We compare findings across the Arctic and internationally, examining them at the molecular, cellular and genetic level.

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