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LifeCourse - Maximising research to provide a “healthy start to life"

Understanding heath and development of children is complex requiring significant expertise and multiple lines of investigation. Early life is a critical time of risk, but also a critical time of opportunity for promotion of health and wellbeing for the prevention of future diseases. There is already substantial evidence that providing a ‘healthy start to life’ can reduce the risk of both early and later disease and disorders with wide social and economic benefits.

The Melbourne Children’s LifeCourse Initiative

There are few centres worldwide with such extensive population and clinical studies designed to address different questions central to early life health and development. These studies provide a unique opportunity to inform new approaches to prevention and treatment across childhood and adolescence.

The vision of LifeCourse is to maximise the value of these studies to inform better outcomes for children and adolescents across the continuum of care. Our aim is for the Melbourne Children’s Campus to lead the national integration of early lifecourse data to create an unparalleled resource for informing practice and policy - a resource that will enhance the capacity of the clinical and medical research community  to inform Government and the healthcare sector about the best timing and targeting of interventions that prevent disease and disorder, enhance treatment of disease and disorder, and promote wellbeing. 
The Melbourne Children’s LifeCourse Initiative began in 2013 to curate existing data; foster collaboration between existing and future longitudinal studies; promote best practice custodianship; share protocols; enable data harmonisation and pooling/sharing of biospecimens; and provide a framework for questions which new studies can build on. LifeCourse maximises the value of these longitudinal studies by bringing resources together to address new research questions that cannot be addressed within individual studies alone. Our Institute hosts over 20 separate population-based longitudinal studies, spanning 0-35 years (including two trans-generational studies), involving over 40,000 participants, 1 million data points and 80,000 biospecimens. We continue to add to this with a further 10 clinical and specialist exposure studies on over 10,000 participants currently being curated and added to LifeCourse.

Impacting Health, Wellbeing and Learning 

These studies have already shaped policy and clinical care nationally and internationally. By bringing these resources together our researchers continue to build our understanding of the burden, causes and consequences of childhood diseases in Victoria and globally.  We are always looking to work with other researchers, policy makers and service providers to find answers to important questions.

We encourage you to take a look here 

The LifeCourse initiative is jointly supported by campus partners:

The Royal Children’s Hospital
Murdoch Children's Research Institute
The University of Melbourne