What Our Breath Reveals

Breathe out and get a simple and accurate diagnosis of your disease. This is the ambitious goal of Zurich Exhalomics, a flagship project of the University Medicine Zurich initiative. Researchers at the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich can already diagnose certain diseases based on our breath, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pulmonary fibrosis or asthma.

Our breath reveals whether we’re healthy or sick
The researchers working on the Exhalomics project have developed a groundbreaking method: They can analyze the substances contained in exhaled breath by blowing it through a heated tube and then into a mass spectrometer. Every breath is made up of many different molecules, forming what is called an exhalome, which can provide information about our metabolism. For example, the exhalome can tell doctors what we’ve eaten and whether we’re tired, healthy or sick.

Your support
Despite its initial success, this promising method still needs to be developed further. The measuring and analysis instruments need to become simpler and smaller so that they can be used in everyday hospital life. The plan is to develop a portable device that will allow doctors to analyze a patient’s exhalome in a matter of minutes. The researchers also want to expand the list of diseases that can be recognized, for example pneumonia or lung cancer. We need your financial support to help this promising project reach the next level

Overview of projects
For further information, please read our fact sheet


Zurich Exhalomics (©Renato Zenobi, Malcolm Kohler)

Your Contact

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Annette Kielholz
Project Management Fundraising

Phone: +41 44 634 61 83