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Alvogen teams up with Columbia University

23 March 2012

Alvogen has entered into a collaboration with Columbia University and a group if distinguished scientists from all over the world, representing different academic disciplines. Alvogen is one of the official sponsors of the Life Course Project (Longitudinal Investigation for Epigenetic Causes and Outcomes in the Urban and Rural Social Environments). An unique cutting edge and first of its kind research project designed to better understand the biological, behavioral, and environmental factors that influence the healthy development of young people.

A unique research opportunity

Research has consistently shown that our lifestyle and the cumulative effects of life events to which we are exposed can contribute to the onset of various health problems later in life. However, much less is known about how these events and the environments in which we live interact with our biology and behavior over time. Thus, understanding precisely how environmental factors interact with our biology and behavior to influence health and related pro-social outcomes is a critical challenge for society. The Life Course Project seeks to address this gap in knowledge by bringing to bear state-of-the-art measurement of social contexts as well as the sophisticated measurement of biological variables and historical data for analysis.

The study will be the first cohort study of its kind that combines biological, behavioral and social data from before birth through adolescence, thus providing the basis for developing a novel and holistic understanding of later-life health and behavior.

A key element of the project is its access to whole-population data in Iceland. Because of its contained population and the existence of modern data-collection systems, Iceland presents a unique opportunity for scientists to capture and analyze both retrospective and prospective data, including human genomic, biologic, and behavioral, social and environmental data related to each individual case, in the study of healthy development from birth (and before birth) to adulthood.

The findings of such research can be of great value in developing education and social systems that are designed to maximize healthy development over the life course of the individual, and the social policies to support their implementation.

Experienced team of scientists

The project comprises an international team of distinguished scientists from Columbia University Teachers College, King’s College London, Northwestern University, Reykjavik University, and the University of California at Irvine. While each of the partners in the group is capable of separately addressing important facets of the overall theme of health and human development, by working in collaboration the partners have come together to form a unique reservoir of intellectual talent that can achieve the necessary interdisciplinary synergies to address complex questions about the interaction of human biology, behavior, and environment.