In pursuit of sweat

’It’s amazing what you can find in sweat.’ After his fellowshi
’It’s amazing what you can find in sweat.’ After his fellowship at ETH Zurich No Brasier continues to pursue his research into sweat analysis as an Early Career Fellow at Collegium Helveticum. (Photograph: ETH Zurich / Markus Bertschi)
No Brasier is fascinated by the emerging field of sweat analysis. He plans to measure the effect of heat stress directly on people’s skin - and help them protect themselves from health risks.

"It’s amazing what you can find in sweat," says No Brasier, a clinical researcher and medical doctor who specialises in general internal medicine. It was while working at the University Hospital Basel that he became fascinated by the emerging field of sweat analysis. Combining technology, physiology and clinical potential, this area of research relies on expertise from multiple disciplines.

Even after qualifying as a specialist, Brasier was keen to pursue his interest in this topic. He was able to do so thanks to an ETH Zurich MedLab Fellowship , which provided the funding for an interdisciplinary clinical research project. Together with Jrg Goldhahn, ETH professor at the Institute of Translational Medicine, he led the first large-scale investigation of molecular heat-stress markers from sweat analysis. Heat stress can lead to severe health effects in humans, especially in individuals who engage in physically demanding outdoor work. Yet the heat strain experienced in response to this stress differs greatly from one individual to another. The researchers’ goal is to develop on-skin methods of measuring heat strain directly in a person’s sweat at a molecular level. Digital sweat analysis - using biosensors and a smartphone - could help people protect themselves from heat-related health risks. It also paves the way for non-invasive digital molecular diagnostics in other areas, for example in the treatment of fever patients.

Brasier’s basic clinical research seeks to accommodate the different needs and priorities of society, doctors and patients and to translate them into clinical practice. ETH offered him major advantages during his Fellowship, he says, with its outstanding reputation opening many doors and its myriad disciplines providing a wealth of expertise under one roof. "At ETH, people have the courage and determination to create new things," says Brasier, who continues to pursue his research into sweat analysis as an Early-Career Fellow at Collegium Helveticum.
Karin Kchle