Molecular Epidemiology and Toxicology Group - ongoing projects

Hazards of particulate matter from burning candles

Burning candles emit large quantities of particles, which may cause health effects. It is well known that particles from vehicles of outdoor air deposit in the airways and increase the risk of developing lung and cardiovascular diseases. However, there is almost no knowledge about the health effects of particles from burning candles, although this is the main source of particles in the indoor environment. The project aims to investigate the health consequences of exposure to particles from candles in experimental model systems. The project is funded by Læge Sofus Carl Emil Friis og hustru Olga Doris Friis' Legat.


International Network (EU COST Action), which examines the use of the single cell gel electrophoresis (comet) method for measuring DNA damage and DNA repair activity in human cells, including development of a database of published research and investigate the variation measurements between laboratories.
For more information please visit the hCOMET website

Mechanisms of carbon nanotube-induced mesothelioma

Carbon nanotubes are fibrous nanomaterials with high tensile strength. They resemble asbestos, which causes mesothelioma. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), under the World Health Organization, has recently evaluated the risk of cancer for humans exposed to multi-walled carbon nanotubes as possibly carcinogenic to humans, based on sufficient evidence for carcinogenicity in animals and insufficient knowledge about the mechanism of action operating in humans. In plain language it means that we know it is carcinogenic, but we do not why. Excessive generation of reactive oxygen species and persistent inflammation, leading to damage of DNA, is considered to be important events in fiber-induced development of cancer. The present study investigates the mechanisms of carbon nanotubes-generated DNA damage in mesothelial cells of animals and cell cultures in terms of translocation of nanotubes to the pleural space, inflammation, and oxidatively damaged DNA lesions. The project is funded by the Danish Council for Independent Research.


Center for Indoor air and Health in dwellings (CISBO) is a research center that has been initiated and supported by Realdania.
The research center is a collaboration between five of the primary research institutions in the field: SBi (Aalborg University), Institute of Public Health (Aarhus University), Department of Public Health (University of Copenhagen), Department of Building and Construction (DTU, Technical University of Denmark) and the National Research Center for the Working Environment.
The research of CISBO aims:
To increase our knowledge of the effects of moisture on health in order to establish a basis for a better control of humidity conditions and control of secondary pollutants, for example microorganisms which are dependent on moisture in buildings.
To increase our knowledge of the impact of particles on health in order to create preconditions for a limitation of indoor air containing harmful particles.
To increase our knowledge about the effects of chemicals on health with a view to reducing the chemical contamination of indoor air.
For more information please visit the CISBO website


Centre for Pharmaceutical Nanotechnology and Nanotoxicology is funded by a grant from the Danish Council for Strategic Research.
CPNN intends to unravel the molecular basis of nanomaterial performance and toxicity through “structure-activity” assessments at membrane, organelle, cellular (single cell) and animal level in combination with and by improving/optimizing the performance of the state-of-the-art bio-nanotechnology techniques. This integrated and multidisciplinary approach is expected to improve therapeutic benefit-to-risk ratio applicable to a wide range of clinical situations to include cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, inflammatory conditions and immune disorders.
CPNN also intends to provide “bench-mark protocols” for toxicity evaluation of nanomedicines in animals, and at cellular and molecular levels, as the sensitivity and precision of the standard toxicological procedures are of arguable value in nanomedicine research and development as it is limited to spotting extreme toxicity.
CPNN is truly international; which is reflected through collaborations with centres of excellence world-wide including those in USA, Switzerland, EU and China.

Placenta Project

The Placenta Project is a Danish research project which aims to examine the possible placental transfer of various toxic substances. 
The project has a Danish home page.