Human biomonitoring research unit

The Human Biomonitoring Research Unit (HBRU) has strong expertise in analytical toxicology and development of biomarkers for the assessment of human exposure to organic pollutants from different classes. 


The HBRU primary goals are the development of biomarkers for the identification of human exposure to different occupational and environmental pollutants such as pesticides, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and persistent organic pollutants. Furthermore, HBRU aims to expand existing knowledge of the relationships between exposure to pollutants and subsequent biological/biochemical disorders. 

HBRU analytical techniques are mainly based on chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry applied to various biological matrices such as blood, urine and hair. HBRU also has strong expertise in biomarkers of alcohol consumption as well as in the assessment of exposure to cigarette smoke in active and passive smoking. 

The advantage of hair analysis is that it can cover a period of time ranging from weeks to several months, therefore highlighting chronic exposure, whilst urine or blood analysis only corresponds to a few hours prior to sample collection.

Brice Appenzelller, PhD, Group Leader

Strategic research goals 

HBRU’s strategic research goals are as follows: 

  • Develop biomarkers to assess exposure to pollutants 
  • Investigate the suitability of different biological matrices for the monitoring of exposure level 
  • Analyse biological samples in national and international epidemiological studies 
  • Support researchers in study design and results interpretation in biomarker identification 
WATCH – 📺 Exposome assessment with biomonitoring approaches

Projects & clinical trials

Featured team members

  • Brice
    Group Leader
  • Franco
    PhD Student
  • Alba
    Iglesias Gonzalez
    Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Linda
    Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Paul
    Research Engineer

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