You exhale...
...we diagnose!

Zurich Exhalomics
A flagship project of Hochschulmedizin Zürich

Instantaneous Health Status from Exhaled Breath

Since 2015, we are striving for making breath analysis routine.

A New Approach in Medical Diagnosis

Medical diagnostics is often invasive, time-consuming or expensive - frequently all three of these factors together. Breath analysis is a promising alternative that can provide diagnosis or medical monitoring quickly, non-invasively and inexpensively. The consortium of Zurich Exhalomics is fully focused on making the exhalome - the entity of the exhaled molecules - interpretable and usable in everyday clinical practice. 

Tackling Global Health Challenges

The close, interinstitutional collaboration of researchers from ETH Zurich, the University of Zurich, the University Hospital Zurich, the University Children's Hospital Zurich, the University of Basel, the University Children's Hospital Basel, Empa, the Paul Scherrer Institute, and Agroscope enables all participants to benefit from each other's know-how and to work towards the vision of non-invasive medical diagnostics via breath analysis.

How It Works

1
Exhalation

We collect exhaled air either offline or directly at the inlet of the mass spectrometer.

2
Analysis

We analyse the exhalome for specific volatile molecules, down to the ppq (parts per quadrillion) range.

3
Diagnosis

If we find characteristic biomarkers in the exhalome, we can diagnose health or disease conditions.

Who We Are

Prof. Dr. med. Malcolm Kohler, Head of the Department of Pulmonology at UZH/USZ and Prof. Dr. Renato Zenobi, Head of the Laboratory of Analytical Chemistry at ETH, are the project leaders. They work closely together with 14 interdisciplinary teams and their Principal Investigators.

Through the multitude of combined disciplines, we can conduct research in Zurich Exhalomics that is unique in the world and will have a high societal benefit in the longer term.

Principal Investigators

The research group leaders jointly develop projects, which they drive forward with their groups.

UZH
Prof. Dr. Steven A. Brown
Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology
ETH
Dr. Andreas Güntner
Particle Technology Laboratory
UZH/Kispi
Prof. Dr. med. Alexander Möller
Department of Pediatric Pulmonology
PSI
Prof. Dr. André Prévôt
Laboratory of Atmospheric Chemistry
UniBasel/UKBB
Prof. Dr. Pablo Sinues
Department of Biomedical Engineering
ETH
Prof. Dr. Emma Wetter Slack
Laboratory for Food Immunology
Agroscope
PD Dr. Guy Vergères
Functional Nutritional Biology
UZH/USZ
Prof. Dr. med. Annelies Zinkernagel
Department of Infectious Diseases and Hospital Epidemiology
UZH/USZ
Prof. Dr. med. Arnold von Eckardstein
Institute for Clinical Chemistry

Honorary Members

They have been members for many years and are now thankfully making their expertise available on an ad hoc basis.

PSI
Prof. Dr. Urs Baltensperger
Laboratory of Atmospheric Chemistry
ETH
Prof. Dr. Joachim M. Buhmann
Institute for Machine Learning
ETH
Prof. Dr. Sotiris E. Pratsinis
Institute of Process Engineering

Research Projects

14 research groups from fundamental sciences, to engineering, to clinical practice are closely working together for

Nutrition and Food
Wahl
Zenobi
Gerber
Slack
Vergères

Understanding the impact of nutrition and food on human health, applying online-analytical tools, mice models and clinical studies.

Sleep Obstruction
Brown
Zenobi
Kohler
Slack

Understanding the interaction between microbiome and circadian clocks and its impact on sleep obstruction – all analyzed via exhaled molecules.

Clinical Validation
Kohler
Möller
Sinues
von Eckardstein
Gerber

Promising biomarkers for diseases, and medication and health stati are being validated in clincial settings.

Quantification Techniques
Zenobi
Emmenegger
El Haddad
Prévôt
Güntner

Developing detection and quantification techniques for exhaled molecules down to the ppq concentration range (1 ppq = one per 1,000,000,000,000,000).

Diet and Circadian Rhythms
Zenobi
Slack
Gerber
Brown

Understanding how a specific diet and circadian rhythms influence our microbiome with subsequent detection of characteristic exhaled molecules.

Medication Levels
Sinues
Kohler
von Eckardstein

Monitoring medication levels with narrow efficacy and safety range in children and adults (Example: antiepileptics and propofol).

Big Data Analysis
Buhmann
Zenobi
Sinues
Emmenegger
El Haddad

Establishing algorithms for big data analysis – searching for molecular patterns of relevance.

Globally Relevant Diseases
Kohler
Möller
Sinues
Gerber
Zinkernagel

Detecting and quantifying biomarkers for globally relevant diseases, such as COPD, obstructive sleep apnea, asthma, covid-19, lung cancer, cystic fibrosis, pulmonary infections.

Sensors for Biomarkers
Zenobi
Sinues
Emmenegger
El Haddad
Prévôt

Increasing robustness and decreasing complexity of sensor, laser spectroscopy and high-resolution mass-spectrometry techniques, for the quantification of relevant biomarkers.

Interdisciplinarity at Its Best

Latest Blog Posts

May 17, 2022
Exhalomics Circle: solving the puzzle together

by Dr. Raphael Brechbühler, Empa

Read More
March 3, 2022
NutriExhalomics: online breath test for nutritional characterization

by Dr. Stamatios Giannoukos, ETH Zürich, and Dr. Guy Vergères, Agroscope

Read More
February 7, 2022
Asthma and children: how atmospheric science inspires medical diagnostics

by Dr. Imad El Haddad, Group Leader Paul Scherrer Institute, and Prof. Dr. med. Alexander Möller, Head of Pediatric Pneumology at Children University Hospital Zurich.

Read More

Donations

Zurich Exhalomics is generously supported by the Uniscientia Foundation, the Lotte and Adolf Hotz-Sprenger Foundation, the Evi Diethelm-Winteler Foundation, the Heidi Ras Foundation, the SNF Foundation, the Ascher Trust, and other donors. The ETH Zurich Foundation, the UZH Foundation, and the USZ Foundation support the Zurich Exhalomics project in partnership building. Don't hesitate to contact us if you would like to  support Zurich Exhalomics on the journey to bring breath analysis into clinical routine.