First nationwide professorship for climate change and health in Berlin
26.06.2019 | The Brain City Berlin once again gets top-class new scientists: The medician and epidemiologist Prof. Dr. Dr. Sabine Gabrysch is the first female professor for climate change and health in Germany. The position was newly established by Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin together with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).
Drought, thunderstorms, endangerment of native animal and plant species - the effects of climate change on the Earth's ecosystem are a major concern for scientists worldwide. But what about the effects on human health? Does climate change make us ill? Prof. Dr. Dr. Sabine Gabrysch wants to deal particularly intensively with this fundamental question. The 43-year-old medician, who most recently headed the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Institute for Global Health at the University Hospital of Heidelberg, has been the first female professor for climate change and health in Germany since mid-June. The new position was established by Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin together with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).
"Until now, research has focused primarily on the consequences of heat waves and the spread of tropical infectious diseases," said the scientist. But people are also affected. Especially poorer people in countries with inadequate social security systems: "If, for example, more frequent droughts lead to malnutrition in pregnant women, the unborn children can suffer permanent damage - with health consequences for their entire lives".
Improving people's health worldwide
One focus of Prof. Gabyrisch's research at PIK will therefore be nutrition as an important link between the environment and health. She will work closely with agricultural economists to investigate the interaction between agriculture and climate change. "With my research, I want to contribute to improving human health worldwide and at the same time stabilizing the natural systems on which humanity ultimately depends," adds Sabine Gabrysch.
A very ambitious goal. But it is no coincidence that the scientist, who received her doctorate in medicine in Tübingen and her PhD in epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, was awarded the Baden-Württemberg Prize for Courageous Science last year.
The newly established professorship at Charité and PIK is attached to Charité’s Institute of Public Health. It is supported by Stiftung Charité. As part of her appointment, Prof. Gabrysch is heading the Research Department "Climate Resilience" at PIK. (vdo)