Panel Discussion

Communicating Science

On Monday afternoon we will have a panel discussion on "Communicating Science - Well Performed Risk Communication" focusing on two topics:

  • The issue of air pollution (e.g. fine particles, NO2) and health in retrospective: success or failure in communication?
  • Scientific communication under fire: how to deal with changed conditions?

We are planning on including the audience as much as possible into this discussion. Therefore you will find a pen and three cards in your conference bag: a white one, a green one and a red one:

  • The white one you can use for putting questions to the panelists
  • The green and the red one will be used for audience quiz during the panel discussion

Moreover, there will be two additional chairs within the round of panelists for volunteers from the audience who want to contribute and discuss.


  • Bert Brunekreef, Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences - Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • Francesco Forastiere, Lazio Regional Health Service, Rome, Italy
  • Mark Nieuwenhuijsen, ISGlobal, Barcelona Institute for Global Health, Barcelona, Spain
  • Annette Peters, Helmholtz Zentrum München, Munich, Germany
  • Nicoletta Renz, Bayerischer Rundfunk, Germany
  • Beate Ritz, University of California, Los Angeles, USA
  • Jens Soentgen, Environmental Science Center, University Augsburg, Germany

Moderation: Brigitte Strahwald



Bert Brunekreef, PhD, is a Professor of Environmental Epidemiology in both the Faculties of Veterinary Medicine, and the Faculty of Medicine at Utrecht University and director of the Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Utrecht University. He studied Environmental Sciences at the Wageningen University, Netherlands. He was the president of the ISEE in 2000 and 2001. Since the early 1990s, he coordinated five EU funded studies (PEACE, TRAPCA, AIRALLERG, AIRNET, ESCAPE) in the field of air pollution, allergy and health and was a partner in many other international collaborative studies. He was the PI on three studies funded by the US Health Effects Institute.
On several occasions, he served as advisor on national and internati¬onal panels in the field of environmental health, including the Dutch National Health Council, of which he is a member, WHO and the US EPA. He received the ISEE John Goldsmith award (2007), the European Lung Foundation Award (2007), an honorary doctorate of the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium (2008), the Heineken Prize for Environmental Sciences (2008), and an Academy Professorship of the Dutch Royal Academy of Sciences (2009) to which he also was elected to become a member in 2009.

Francesco Forastiere, MD, PhD, Senior Scientist with the Department of Epidemiology, Rome Health Authority, Italy, since 1982. Medical background in respiratory diseases and in occupational medicine, Master of Science in Epidemiology (LSHTM) and PhD in Epidemiology (Linkoping, Sweden).  I have been conducting studies on the health effects of air pollution in the general environment in the last three decades. Author or co-author of more than 500 full papers in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. I have been focusing on the application of scientific research findings to a wide range of public health issues, including air pollution, radon, waste disposal, occupational exposure to silica and asbestos, and environmental tobacco smoke.

Annette Peters, PhD, directs the Institute of Epidemiology at the Helmholtz Zentrum München – German Research Center for Environmental Health, Neuherberg, Germany. She studied biology, mathematics and epidemiology at the Universities in Konstanz and Tübingen, Germany as well as at the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, USA. She has pioneered work identifying the link between ambient particulate matter and cardiovascular disease exacerbation. Furthermore, she was among the first examining the role of ultrafine particles in epidemiological studies. She was the president of the ISEE in 2012 and 2013. Since 2014, she is a principal investigator of the German National Cohort. Her research interest is to integrate the assessment of environmental exposures with chronic disease epidemiology and biomedical approaches utilizing high throughput technologies such as whole genome-wide methylation or metabolomics. She has severed on numerous scientific panels and expert groups including the group drafting the global guidelines on air pollution published in 2005 by the World Health Organization, a panel advising the International Olympic Committee during the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and chairing a grant panel of the European Research Council. She is a professor at Ludwig-Maximilians Universität, München, Germany and an adjunct professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, USA.

Mark J Nieuwenhuijsen, PhD, is a world leading expert in environmental exposure assessment, epidemiology, and health risk/impact assessment with a strong focus and interest on healthy urban living.  He has experience and expertise in areas of all cause mortality, respiratory and cardiovascular disease, mental health and cognitive function, cancer and reproductive health, and exposure measurement and modelling of indoor and outdoor air pollution, green space, UV exposure, noise, temperature and physical activity, using new technology such as GIS, smartphones, personal sensors and remote sensing. He is currently PI on the EC funded HELIX (, that examines the early life exposome and childhood diseases, EC funded EXPOsOMICs ( that examines the air pollution and water exposome and health, the EC funded PASTA study (, which promotes active transportation through sustainable transport, and the EC funded BlueHealth project evaluating the relationship between blue space and Health.  He worked at the University of California, David, USA is Imperial College London UK and is now professor at ISGlobal, Barcelona, Spain.  He edited 3 textbooks on exposure assessment and environmental epidemiology and has coauthored more than 350 peer reviewed papers.

Nicoletta Renz, studied journalism and biology in Germany, France and England. For many year, she worked as a TV producer and journalist in London for various TV stations and news agencies such as BBC World, AP, Reuters, ARD and RTL. Since returning to Germany, she has worked for Bayerischer Rundfunk, mainly in the science department. She has produced and directed a number of documentaries, some of which have played at smaller film festivals.

Beate Ritz, MD, Ph.D., is a Professor of Epidemiology at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health with co-appointments in Environmental Health Sciences and Neurology at the UCLA, SOM; a member of the Center for Occupational and Environmental Health and the California Population Research Center. Her primary research interests are the effects of occupational and environmental exposures focusing on air pollution and pesticides on pregnancy and adverse birth outcomes and childhood diseases (autism and asthma) as well as neurodegeneration (Parkinson’s and Alzheimer) and cancers.  She has developed geographic information system (GIS) based exposure assessment tools to study health effects of air pollution and of long-term pesticide exposures.  She is the 2007 recipient of the Robert M. Zweig M.D. Memorial Award (“Clean Air Award”) from the California South Coast Air Quality Management District, and served on multiple IOM committees evaluating Gulf War Illness, the U.S. EPA CASAC panel (Carbon Monoxide National Ambient Air Quality Standards); she has been a member of the Scientific Review Panel on Toxic Air Contaminants for the state of California for 5 years and recently served on the IOM panel on “21st Century Risk Assessment”.

Jens Soentgen is a philosopher and chemist, serving as  academic director of the Environmental Science Center at University of Augsburg. Since 2016 he is also Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at Memorial University in St. John’s, Canada. Since 2012 he co-edits the journal GAIA – Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society. Soentgen published widely on the history and theory of chemistry as well as on the specifics of individual materials, and on environmental health topics, both for the scientific community and for the general reader.


Brigitte Strahwald is a physician, epidemiologist and graphic designer, with an additional master in medical ethics and law. She is working, teaching and doing research in the field of health communication and information visualization. Brigitte develops, organizes and moderates new conference and workshop formats that support interaction and initiate innovative solutions. She co-directs an agency for health communication, and teaches at the Institute for Medical Informatics, Biometry and Epidemiology (IBE) at the LMU Munich. She is involved in several projects focusing on the improvement of teaching and learning.