Life course research on health and disease has reached a new stage in exploring the social-to-biological transition. Large longitudinal datasets containing socio-demographic and socio-economic characteristics, self-reported health assessments, psychological and biological data are coming into maturation and being made available to researchers. The field of life course research is interdisciplinary by construction, stemming from different traditions including epidemiology, demography, sociology and psychology. An interdisciplinary field of life course research has emerged from collaborations between these disciplines and others.

Given these strong traditions, life course research is well placed to establish both social and biological plausibility in testing hypotheses about the social-to-biological transition and production of health inequalities.

To this end, an Interdisciplinary Health Research working group within the Society for Longitudinal and Life Course Studies was set up in 2014. The aim of the group is to structure and facilitate health related research across disciplinary boundaries and promote open access datasets.

If you are interested in this area of research we invite you to sign up to the group’s email list

Read the editorial by group founding members in the international journal of public health here

Michelle Kelly-Irving and Melanie Bartley have set up and are running a twitter account @social2bio where recent evidence and discussions on social-to-biological research are discussed.

So far the Interdisciplinary Health Research Group has concentrated on SLLS Annual Conferences, where it has organised symposiums and workshops. The symposiums have addressed several aspects of social-biological transitions research including new findings from Europe, new data resources and epigenetics. The workshops have demonstrated how to deliver social and biological plausibility in a life course perspective. The present covid-19 pandemic and, in the longer term, the impact of air travel on global warming are encouraging us to explore the additional option of on-line meetings. We welcome the collaboration of anyone who wishes to join us in these endeavours. 

If you are interested in getting involved with - or even convening our forum, this would be especially welcome.

For further information, get in touch with the group co-ordinator and committee members whose contact information is below.

Group Co-ordinator
Morten Wahrendorf, University of Duesseldorf      [email protected]

Steering Committee
David Blane, Imperial College London                      [email protected]
Noriko Cable, University College London                 [email protected]

Twitter: @Social2bio

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The Society for Longitudinal and Lifecourse Studies is a Registered Charity in England and Wales, No. 1144426.
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