Vision, sustainable partnership and infrastructure

The vision and intention of aeroHEALTH is to establish a long-term interdisciplinary cooperation between the Weizmann Institute, the Helmholtz partners (HMGU, FZJ) and the associated partners (UR, UEF and now UniBW) that is sustainable beyond the HGF funding period. Also, this society is intended as a nucleus that will allow other international and German partners interested in the topic to join, network and interact.

Recently, we have added the University of the Bundeswehr München, UniBW, confirmed by the Steering Committee, as another associated partner. UniBW's mobile laboratories for parallel chemical and physical aerosol characterization and atmospheric transformation/aging will accompany the existing mobile aerosol toxicology laboratory for ambient aerosol field campaigns and will be available for the long-term joint research infrastructure aeroHEALTH.

We are also in discussions with the Synchrotron Facility in Jordan (SESAME) and Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin (HBZ) to establish an aeroHEALTH-associated research initiative to study the health effects of dust storm episodes in the Middle East. Dust may be responsible for much of the elevated PM2.5 levels, but its health effects are unknown. In addition to CMA, HBZ (including the groups of Prof. Föhlisch and Prof. Lips at the University of Potsdam and the Free University of Berlin, respectively), and SESAME, WIS is conducting on-site sampling in Rehovot, which will be event-based and will inform meteorological predictions of dust storms. By covering the spectrum of aerosol sources via atmospheric processing, their biological effects, and deep-learning strategies to connect these domains, aeroHEALTH is able to take a holistic approach to the global problem of air pollution.

The cooperation agreement between the participating institutes (HMGU, UR and UniBW) and the joint expertise supports future joint applications to other transnational funding programs, such as the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Program and other EU funding programs or specific German-Israeli/German-Middle East calls of the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), such as the standing calls "German-Israeli Project Cooperation" and "Middle East Cooperation".

In addition to a perfect match of research interests and complementary expertise, the following facilities provide good prospects for long-term sustainability:

  • HMGU: MobiLAB I (Bio), exposure systems, analytical instruments, bioinformatics.
  • UniBW: MobiLAB II and III
  • WIS: Biological facilities (animals, omics, bioinformatics), analytical instruments
  • FZY: SAPHIR, SAPHIR+ (simulation with ambient aerosols), analytical instruments
  • UR: S2 exposure laboratory, analytical instruments
  • UEF: ILMARI facility (real aerosol sources: car, wood)