The Institute for Exposomic Research
at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
The Mount Sinai Institute for Exposomic Research is the world’s first research institute to focus on exposomics, and is the nucleus of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai’s work on studying early environmental exposures and its effects on health throughout the life-course. The mission of the Institute is to understand how the complex mix of chemical, nutritional, and social environments affect health, disease, and development later in life and to translate those findings into new strategies for prevention and treatment.
The Institute for Exposomic Research, established in 2017, focuses unique resources, talented scientists, and clinicians and supports collaborations across departments at Mount Sinai, including: Environmental Medicine and Public Health, Cancer, Genetics and Genomics, Psychiatry, Pediatrics, and Informatics.
Although an emerging consensus suggests that prevalent complex diseases in humans develop as a result of multiple biologically unique gene–gene, gene–environment, and environment–environment interactions, this conceptual framework is still limited. In fact, the development of disease in humans is far more complex and is not even a three dimensional issue (i.e. involving interactions) but a four dimensional issue (i.e. changes in interaction-related risk over time).
Chronic illnesses—neurodevelopmental/degenerative disorders, asthma, cardiovascular disease, cancer, obesity, and diabetes—are the principal causes of disability and death in the US. The incidence and prevalence of these diseases are increasing and growing evidence indicates that environmental exposures in early life are important causes. We work both on the external exposome and the internal exposome. We use traditional lab-based methods as well as non-traditional methods that employ computer science, geospatial modeling, public data mining, and the use of smartphone-based apps. The growth of systems biology has illustrated the importance of considering multiple risk factors simultaneously and measuring the biological pathways they affect, as well as the limitations of solely taking reductionist approaches to science in a rapidly changing world.