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BERTHA - Big Data Centre for Environment and Health

Personalised Sensors


We will combine state-of-the-art low-cost PEMs that are portable, GPS enabled, and contain environmental pollutant micro-sensors with biomarker personal sensors (heart rate, blood pressure and possibly other parameters). These  monitoring devices will be applied to measure direct impacts of health effects during exposure as study participants navigate their daily lives in and around the city. We will furthermore investigate possibilities for tracking mobile phones, either from their GPS signals or nearest cell-towers, and developing smart-phone apps to capture response to physical and social environments  



A large dataset containing campaign measurements on sub-groups from selected cohorts (see methods) will be collected. This data will contain geocoded environmental exposures along daily routes of individuals. The collected data from the PEMs will include: gaseous pollutants (we aim for: ozone, nitrogen dioxide, volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and possibly others) and airborne particles (we aim for: PM2.5 and PM10 – particles with a diameter less than 2.5 and 10 µm, respectively) and possibly particle number concentrations), noise (We aim for: dBa), light measurements (we aim for: uva, uvb and uvc), temperature and humidity. The collected data from biomarker personal sensors will include parameters like heart rate, blood pressure and possibly other parameters. The obtained dataset will be an essential element in obtaining a better understanding of the relationship between actual exposures and health impacts. However, the collected data will also form an essential basis for testing the upgraded AirGIS system to be developed in work package on environmental exposures.



The PEMs will be applied for campaign measurements on selected cohort members in at least three different cohorts. The first of these is a cohort of runners using Garmin devices. This cohort has been established by Dr Rasmus Østergaard (Dept of Public Health, AU, Sports Science) within a Run-Safe project. In a collaboration with Garmin, Dr. Østergaard is establishing a cohort of 20.000 runners internationally (RunSafe) using the Garmin devices, and currently the cohort includes about 2.000 Danish runners and about 7.000 from abroad. Heart rate, work intensity and a range of other variables together with GPS and time coordinates during running are available for analysis from the Garmin devices. The second cohort has been established by Prof Jens Cosedis Nielsen, Dept of Cardiological Medicine, AU. This cohort consists of people who has an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD), and the cohort currently has 2.200 persons monitored, for ventricular events reported back to a database (with a time resolution of seconds). 4.000 events are available for analysis. The third cohort consists of 10,000 blood donors from the Central Denmark region, and for this cohort campaign measurements will be planned prior to when the cohort members are delivering blood.


Current projects

  • PhD project (starts by 1. January 2019): Development, testing and application of Personal Air pollution and Noise Exposure Monitor


Potential topics for new PhD or Post Doc projects

  • Testing the usefulness of the feedback from the new types of implanted or attached medical technology Implantable e.g. Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) in combination with personal information on exposure information, for studies of the environmental impact on the disease severity
  • Design and testing of sensor box for personal environmental exposure monitoring (in cooperation with the AMS and a box for biomarker measurements

 Work Package Leader: Professor Ole Hertel