Below is the list of the current PhD students in the institute and their field of research:

Thesis title : Respiratory occupational biomonitoring collaborative project (ROBoCoP)

Author : Maud Hemmendinger
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the third leading cause of death (WHO 2017), affecting 334 million people in the world, and oxidative stress plays a central role in its pathophysiology. As an alternative to spirometry considered as costly, time-consuming and poorly adapted for population screening, the non-invasive detection of diagnostic biomarkers will allow screening populations at risk, such as occupationally exposed workers or people living in polluted environments and targeting preventive interventions.
In this field, a joint research project in collaboration with the Public transit authority of Paris (RATP) was created for the purposes of the development and validation of non-invasive biomonitoring methods focusing on a series of oxidative stress biomarkers associated with the diagnosis of COPD.

Thesis title : Solar UV Modelling for skin cancer prevention

Author: Claudine Backes
Abstract: Claudine Backes’s PhD thesis focuses on occupational and public health issues of long and short term solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposures and related skin cancer prevention. Solar UV doses are estimated by risk assessment modelling tools for different outdoor activities, taking into account overexposure (skin damage), underexposure (Vitamin D) and sun protection effectiveness. This combination of modelling and epidemiological data will hopefully help to better understand the risk and benefits of sun exposure at population level. 

Thesis title: Nanoparticle exposures among cement workers in the construction industry – A comparison between the use of regular and photocatalytic cement

Author: Kiattisak Batsungnoen
Abstract: The overall project will involve the characterization of nanoparticles between photocatalytic and regular cement.  The standard parameters considered for nanoparticle environment analysis such as concentration, size distribution morphology and elemental composition. Furthermore, on-site exposure assessment will be conducted at construction workplaces in Switzerland and Thailand.

Thesis title: Structure of the farmer’s nasal microbiota: Impact of working in close contact with farm animals

Author: Julia Kramer
Abstract:The overall objective of Julia Kraemer’s PhD thesis is focused on the assessment of the role that exposure to farm’s animals play in the modification of the nasal microbiota of farmers. An additional point of interest is the evaluation of the potential occupational exposure of farm workers to dust and microorganisms present in bioaerosol in pig farms.

Thesis title : Human skin permeation of Bisphenol A

Author: Elena Reale
Abstract: Human exposure to Bisphenol A (BPA) is ubiquitous due to its widespread use, i.e. in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins used for food and beverage packaging, in thermal paper used for point-of-sale, parking, airline and cinema tickets, and in personal care products. External exposure from food contamination is the primary source of BPA exposure, but food alone cannot justify the population BPA body burden. Inhalation and dermal routes of exposure should also be considered. As thermal paper is the second largest source of external exposure to BPA, the aim of this study is to determine the permeation and metabolism through viable human skin, not only of BPA but also of BPA alternatives used in thermal paper.

Thesis title: Efficacy, Safety and Toxicology of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems as an aid for smoking cessation: The ESTxENDS multicentre randomized controlled trial

Author: Nicolas Sambiagio
Abstract: The ENDS (“Electronic Nicotine Delivery System”) has become an interesting alternative for the smokers who decide to stop smoking conventional cigarettes. In collaboration with several institutions localized in Bern, Geneva and Lausanne, the IST will help to assess the toxicology and the safety of the ENDS used during a randomized controlled trial. The project focuses on the characterization of toxic compounds in the aerosols emitted by the ENDS, the quantification of several urinary biomarkers to differentiate smokers and vapers and the analysis of oxidative stress markers in exhaled breath condensates.

Thesis title: Maternity protection at work: practices, obstacles, resources

Author: Alessia Zellweger
Abstract: The implementation of existing legal provisions (Federal Labour Law, Ordinance on the Protection of Maternity) aimed at protecting the health of pregnant workers or new mothers and their children contains flaws, both in the employment field and in the health care system. Studying the practices of all actors involved should enable us to better identify the obstacles to, as well as the potential resources for, the effective protection of maternity at work.