Life course research embraces the complexity of health and disease development, tackling the extensive interactions between genetics and the environment over a lifetime. Recent advances in computational analytics, computer science, and data collection allow for the integration of a “life course” theoretical framework and complexity science for understanding health and development across the lifespan.
The innovative NCATS Life Course Research Visual Toolkit was created to advance the recommendations outlined in, Charting the Life Course: Emerging Opportunities to Advance Scientific Approaches Using Life Course Research.
Recommendations include: 1. Creating systematic processes for longitudinal integration of datasets across the lifespan representing multiple levels of exposures from physiologic to sociologic; 2. Utilizing data science core resources to prepare and package integrated datasets to make them accessible for researchers to generate and test new hypotheses; 3. Developing and validating ways to model high dimensional data; 4. Expanding traditional methods to include systems and network modeling; and 5. Improving reproducibility with standardized measures.
Life Course Research Visual Toolkit
The NCATS Life Course Research Visual Toolkit, Charting the Life Course: An Interdisciplinary Blueprint, officially launching April 14th, serves to increase knowledge about innovative life course research methods by providing content that is widely available and accessible to researchers across multiple disciplines through both longer and shorter visual formats presented by national and international experts in life course research.
In addition to the six recorded webinars, there are shorter 5 – 15 minute videos to allow for personalizing an educational approach for anyone interested in learning more about life course research methods and applications. The video archive, available in the CLIC Education Clearinghouse and Life Course Visual Toolkit YouTube Channel, includes both broad overviews of the subject matter and ‘How To’ videos that describe best practices for applying data science and complex methodological techniques to life course research questions.
This toolkit was made possible through the generous contributions of the planning committee and speakers’ time, with support from the Vanderbilt (VUMC 5UL1TR002243-04) and Utah (ULTTR002538) CTSAs and partial funding from the Life Course Research Intervention Research Network (Health Resources and Services Administration, UA6MC32492). Drs. Heidi Hanson and Shari Barkin led the working group to develop and create the toolkit.
CTSA Program In Action Goals