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  • ULTRHAS workshop in Munich


ULTRHAS workshop in Munich

10 months into the ULTRHAS project, it was finally possible to carry out a project meeting in person. Project participants and advisory board members met for a workshop in the premises of Helmholtz Zentrum München 22 June 2022 to share preliminary results, discuss and plan.

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10 months into the ULTRHAS project, it was finally possible to carry out a project meeting in person. Project participants and advisory board members met for a workshop in the premises of Helmholtz Zentrum München 22 June 2022 to share preliminary results, discuss and plan.

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The ULTRHAS project group. Photo: Thomas Gröger, Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen.

First test campaign 

The purpose of the meeting was to update each other on the general progress of the work, but more importantly, to share ideas and find solutions through good conversations and discussions. A central focus of the workshop was also to plan the first test campaign, at the University of Rostock. 

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Johan Øvrevik presenting. Photo: Elias J. Zimmermann, Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen.

Work package 2 (WP2) of ULTRHAS encompasses three large test campaigns for transport mode emissions, coordinated by the project co-lead Prof. Ralf Zimmermann at the University of Rostock and Helmholtz Zentrum München. These campaigns constitute the backbone of the project. A pilot-campaign was carried out in cooperation with the University of Eastern Finland (Kuopio, Finland) in December 2021. The pilot was performed as a collaboration between ULTRHAS and the AeroHEALTH project, coordinated by Helmholtz Zentrum München. Results and experiences from the pilot campaign are now being analysed and provide invaluable input for the planning of the first ULTRHAS test campaign which will take place in Rostock during winter 2022-2023. The Rostock-campaign will focus on exhaust emissions from high-power engines (ship, truck, and aircraft) and will include atmospheric ageing of selected sources, detailed emission characterisation (WP2), and in vitro toxicity testing in lung and secondary organ models (WP3 and WP4, respectively).   

In WP2, the teams of Prof. Thomas Adam and Prof. Andreas Hupfer at the Universität der Bundeswehr München have made considerable progress in testing and optimising the jet combustor in Munich, including comparison of particle emissions with real jet engines. Preparations have also been done in collaboration with the team of Prof. Bert Buchholz at the University of Rostock to plan the installation of the jet combustor rig at their test facility for the first campaign.     

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Thomas Adam presenting progress. Photo: Elias J. Zimmermann, Helmhotz Zentrum Muenchen.

Considerable progress has also been made on the development of the in vitro toxicity testing approach. The research teams of Dr. Sebastiano Di Bucchianico at Helmholtz Zentrum München (WP3), Prof. Barbara Rothen-Rutishauser at the University of Fribourg (WP4), and Prof. Johan Øvrevik at the Norwegian institute of Public Health (WP6) have now developed and harmonized cell models and protocols across the three laboratories. The goal is to optimize the approach for direct exposure of 3D lung cell models to transport mode emissions under air-liquid (ALI) conditions, with subsequent indirect exposure of secondary tissue models to mimic real-life inhalation exposure in humans, and enable data comparisons across the involved laboratories. Data collection and analysis of in vitro effects in the ALI lung model are also well underway at Helmholtz Zentrum München.  

The workshop also enabled the first discussions with two of the ULTRHAS scientific advisory board members, Dr. M. Ian Gilmour (US Environmental Protection Agency) and Dr. Cristina Guerreiro (Norwegian Institute of Air Research), who also attended the meeting in Munich.  

Cooperation with related EU project 

When ULTRHAS received funding from the EU, it was one of three successful applications under the same call topic (H2020-MG-2018-2019-2020, LC-MG-1-14-2020). Among these, ULTRHAS and the nPETS project both focused on the effects of ultrafine particles from different transport modes, while the third project, LEON-T, focused on noise and particle emissions from tyres. The nPETS project coordinator Ulf Olofsson (Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden) participated at the ULTRHAS workshop. As both projects are investigating the health effects of ultrafine particles (UFPs), it would be beneficial for maximizing impact to join forces moving forward. Olofsson gave a speech presenting the first results from the nPETS project. “There is a clear potential for cooperation on carrying out the health risk assessments and policies parts of the projects,” said Johan Øvrevik (Norwegian Institute of Public Health), who is the project coordinator of ULTRHAS. Harmonization of FAIR and open sharing of data on particle characterization and toxicology was also discussed, to facilitate analysis of data across the projects. The two projects will stay connected and compare notes on several topics. 

Presenting at the Analytica Conference 

The timing of the meeting was conveniently coinciding with the Analytica Conference, which is the world’s leading trade fair for laboratory technology, analysis and biotechnology taking place every second year in Munich, this year 21-24 June. Prof. Zimmermann has been responsible for developing the program in the Aerosol and Health sessions. “Air pollution kills 7 million people every year, which is more than Covid-19”, said Zimmermann at the opening of the session, emphasizing the importance of doing more research in on air pollution. Several of the project participants had been invited to speak, and the Analytica Conference proved to be a good arena for both dissemination, inspiration, and networking.  

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Analytica Conference poster area. Photo: Marte Lund Edvardsen, Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

Ralf Zimmermann keeping time. Photo: Barbara Rothen-Rutishauser, Uversité de Fribourg.

The table below provides an overview of the contributions from participants, advisory board members and collaborators of the ULTRHAS project at the Analytica Conference: 



Effects of photochemical processing on the characteristics of aerosols from residential combustion and passenger vehicles 

Prof. Dr. Olli Sippula,  
University of Eastern Finland 

Particulate emissions from ships: an underestimated problem 

Dr. Uwe Etzien,  
University of Rostock  

Assessing exhaust effects with human lung cells – advantages and limitations 

Dr. Barbara Rothen-Rutishauser,  
University of Fribourg 

In vitro and in vivo effects of combustion emission aerosols 

Prof. Dr. Pasi Jalava,  
University of Eastern Finland 

Air-liquid interface cell exposure studies on the toxicity of ultrafine particles 

Dr. Mathilde Delaval,  
Helmholtz Zentrum München  

Mechanisms of combustion particle toxicity: role of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and the aryl hydro-carbon receptor 

Prof. Dr. Johan Øvrevik,  
Norwegian Institute of Public Health 

Using burden of disease methods to quantify health impacts of air pollution 

Prof. Dr. Otto Hänninen,  
Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (video presentation) 

Comparative chemistry and toxicity of combustion emissions from biomass and synthetic materials 

Dr. M. Ian Gilmour, 
US Environmental Protection Agency and member of ULTRHAS Scientific Advisory Board 

Developments in health risk assessment due to PM2.5 exposure by the European Environment Agency 

Dr. Cristina Guerreiro,  
Norwegian Institute of Air Research and member of ULTRHAS Scientific Advisory Board 

Ultrafine particles from the transport sector: the nPETS first results from road and rail tunnels 

Prof. Dr. Ulf Olofsson,  
Royal Institute of Technology (Sweden) and nPETS coordinator 

Follow ULTRHAS in social media 

LinkedIn: ULTRHAS page: https://www.linkedin.com/company/86615357   

Twitter: @UltrhasEU