The AXA Research Fund Announces 8 New Fellows in the Field of Climate Change and Health


4mins | News

The AXA Research Fund has selected eight research projects to advance scientific knowledge and inform decision-making around the health impact of climate change.

Climate change, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), is the single greatest health threat facing humanity. Climate hazards directly cause over 150,000 deaths annually, and the figure is expected to double by 2030.[1] According to the IPCC,[2] if global greenhouse gas emissions continue at their current rate, global warming will exceed 2°C above pre-industrial levels by 2050, with serious consequences for human health, including severe dehydration, respiratory diseases, acute cerebrovascular accidents, and thrombogenesis.[3] Furthermore, climate change is one of the most frequently implicated “drivers” of infectious disease threats.[4] More scientific knowledge is urgently required to accelerate awareness and develop effective adaptation and mitigation strategies to preserve planetary and human health.

The Scientific Board of the AXA Research Fund has selected eight research projects aimed at measuring, detecting, quantifying, and comprehending the effect of climate change on human health, as well as investigating methods to alleviate these new health risks. The post-doctoral Fellows from leading universities in Italy, the UK, Sweden, Australia, Hungary, and Greece, will address the issues of safe water supply, air pollution, chronic and infectious diseases, climate-related mental health, care house adaptation, and resilient cities.

“Climate change and human health are closely linked. The outstanding selected scientists will carry out innovative and transformational research projects to advance our understanding of the growing health risks due to climate change and to inform adaptation and mitigation strategies,” says Marie Bogataj, Head of the AXA Research Fund and Group Foresight.

The new Fellows will join a community of over 700 AXA-supported researchers working to improve the understanding and management of major societal risks.

Discover the eight selected research projects:

1.     Climate change and the water-food nexus: where and how to act to reduce impacts on human health

Beatrice CANTONI, Politecnico di Milano, Italy

Dr. Cantoni will seek to develop an integrated risk-based approach to guide future policies and improve the water-food sector's preparedness towards water quality challenges caused by climate change.

2.     The impact of rising temperatures on lung health in the face of particulate matter air pollution

Lareb DEAN, University of Southampton, United Kingdom

Dr. Dean will examine how increasing temperatures and particulate matter exposure interact to affect human lung and heart function in order to identify effective mitigation strategies and reduce health burdens.

3.     The impact of climate change on vector-borne infections in temperate regions

Tove HOFFMAN, Uppsala University, Sweden

Dr. Hoffman will investigate the impact of climate change on tick abundance and pathogen infection rates, as well as the establishment of mosquito-borne tropical viruses in temperate regions, to improve forecasts of the risk of vector-borne disease establishment under various climate scenarios.

4.     Climate cares: building youth resilience by understanding and intervening on the mental health impacts of climate awareness

Emma LAWRANCE, Imperial College London, United Kingdom

Dr. Lawrance will conduct mixed methods research to understand climate-related mental health and well-being experiences among youth in the Philippines and Australia to co-design effective and scalable interventions and support.

5.    Developing indicators to support healthy, climate-resilient cities

Melanie LOWE, the Centre for Urban Research at RMIT University, Australia

Dr. Lowe will develop, test, and share indicators of healthy, climate-resilient cities to identify resilience inequities within and between cities and support planning to minimize the health impacts of climate change.

6.     Earth Observation for Air-Quality – Dust Fine-Mode

Emmanouil PROESTAKIS, National Observatory of Athens, Greece

Dr. Proestakis will work on improving Earth Observation-based capacity of airborne dust, focusing on inhalable dust particles, and exploring the complex role of inhalable dust particles in inducing human health diseases under an intensifying changing climate.

7.     Effects of climate change on the eco-epidemiology of zoonotic arbovirus infection in avian hosts

Tamara SZENTIVANYI, Institute of Ecology and Botany, Hungary

Dr. Szentivanyi’s research will focus on assessing the current distribution and public health risk of avian-associated arboviruses with zoonotic potential and improving vector-borne disease monitoring and surveillance.

8.     Renovating care homes fit for the future:  Balancing indoor heat stress risk mitigation with net zero ready by 2050

Choo-Yoon YI, School of Architecture, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom

Dr. Yi will create innovative and reliable modeling methods and tools to identify effective space cooling strategies to reduce indoor heat stress risk in care homes while meeting the net zero CO2 emission target by 2050.

January 17, 2023

[1] The Health Effects Of Global Warming: Developing Countries Are The Most Vulnerable | United Nations

[1] Climate change widespread, rapid, and intensifying – IPCC — IPCC

[1] Heatwaves (

[1]Tracking infectious diseases in a warming world | The BMJ

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