Zohar Barnett Itzhaki – Ministry of Health, Israel

Lessons learnt from HBM4EU in Israel – 27 April – 11:30 am CEST

Israel’s joining the HBM4EU consortium took place at an ideal point in time, around the planning and establishment of the National HBM Program in Israel. The establishment of the National Program was greatly aided by the HBM4EU consortium principles and knowledge, particularly: (a) Leveraging training and HBM4EU protocols to establish a national HBM laboratory;  (b) Participation in the “aligned studies” and lessons learned on sharing and harmonizing data; (c) Tools for communication with stakeholders and the public, via a focus group, newsletters, and reporting HBM results to participants;  (d) Using HBM data to support policy decisions , particularly regarding the pesticide chlorpyrifos. As a national hub we created an HBM network that included governmental, academic, and non-governmental representatives. By disseminating HBM4EU results and communications materials to members of the hub, we hope to extend the valuable lessons we have learned from HBM4EU to the broader environmental health community in Israel.


Dr. Zohar Barnett-Itzhaki is a bioinformatician, statistician, data scientist and an environmental-health researcher. Dr. Barnett-Itzhaki received his Ph.D. degree in bioinformatics and molecular genomics from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and was a postdoctoral fellow in Weizmann Institute for Science. In 2015-2016 Dr. Barnett-Itzhaki was a postdoctoral fellow in the “Mimshak” program by the Israel Society of Ecology and Environmental Sciences in cooperation with the School of Government and Policy at Tel-Aviv University and the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities and later joined the Israeli Ministry of Health as an environmental-health researcher where he conducted biomonitoring and epidemiological studies using statistical and machine learning tools. Dr. Zohar Barnett-Itzhaki co-manages the Israeli national program of biomonitoring and is a senior lecturer, teaching data science and environmental studies in Ruppin Academic Center.


The HBM4EU project was launched in 2016 with the aim of improving the collective understanding of human exposure to hazardous chemicals and developing HBM as an exposure assessment method. The project had €74m in funding and jointly implemented by 120 partners from 28 participating countries – 24 EU member states plus Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Israel and the European Environment Agency. One of its aims was to ensure the sustainability of HBM in the EU beyond 2021. The project ended in June 2022. The website will not be updated any longer, except the page on peer reviewed publications, but will be online until 2032.