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 LifeCourse Cohorts

LifeCourse brings together resources and data to aid new research questions that cannot be addressed using lone studies. Such questions centre on rare exposures and new and important risk relationships. LifeCourse includes over 40 separate clinical and population-based longitudinal studies, spanning 0-35 years (including two trans-generational studies), involving over 70,000 participants, 10 million data points and 250,000 biospecimens aliquots.

The LifeCourse portal provides a platform to explore the information contained in these studies as well as contact the researchers involved. Please feel free to explore our affiliated cohorts in the cohorts tab.

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.

This alliance will generate robust evidence on the burden, causes and consequences of childhood conditions in Victoria and globally. We are always looking to work with other researchers, policy makers and service providers to find answers to important questions. The LifeCourse initiative is jointly supported by campus partners: The Royal Children’s Hospital, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, The University of Melbourne

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 LifeCourse Development Team

Professor Katie Allen

LifeCourse Convenor

Katie is the current Convenor of LifeCourse. She is a paediatric gastroenterologist and allergist undertaking research in the evolving field of food allergy. She is the Theme Director of Population Health and Group Leader of Gastro and Food Allergy at Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Director of the Centre for Food and Allergy Research, and works nationally on lifecourse research initiatives such as the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease Society of Australia and New Zealand’s (DOHaD ANZ) ActEarly working group. For more information on Katie, please view her bio.

LifeCourse Founding Convenor Craig Olsson

Professor Craig Olsson

Founding Convenor

Craig was the Founding Convenor of LifeCourse and led bringing together campus population cohorts, developing the interactive study diagram lay out of the website and the measurement library. He currently sits on the LifeCourse Development Team and Management Committee. He leads one of Australia’s oldest longitudinal studies of social-emotional development, The Australian Temperament Project Generation 3, and is National Convenor of the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY) Longitudinal Studies Network. For more information on Craig, please view his bio.

LifeCourse Manager Will Siero

Will Siero

Project Manager

Will has been involved with LifeCourse since its inception in 2013 and is the project manager for LifeCourse. He works with LifeCourse cohorts, the management committee and the LifeCourse team on the development of the LifeCourse portal, develop collaborative infrastructure and share know-how in lifecourse research implementation locally, nationally and internationally, such as the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease Society of Australia and New Zealand’s (DOHaD ANZ) ActEarly working group. For more information on Will, please view his bio.

LifeCourse Manager Anna Duncan

Anna Duncan

Senior Project Officer

Anna has been a member of the LifeCourse team since August 2014. She works closely with LifeCourse cohorts and team members to develop and maintain each cohort’s presence on the LifeCourse web portal and is involved in developing resources, protocols and new features and projects (both web and non-web based); liaising with cohorts to share information; collating and reviewing content; maintaining team cohesion and effectiveness; and participating in workshops, presentations and committees.

LifeCourse Manager Angela Pezic

Angela Pezic

Research Officer

Angela has been a member of LifeCourse since January 2016. She liaises with Group Leaders and researchers to inform them about LifeCourse and to gather information about individual studies for the LifeCourse Initiative. Angela is also involved in developing protocols, working on key LifeCourse projects and is the database developer for the team.

LifeCourse Web Developer Lucy Anderson

Lucy Anderson

Web Developer

Lucy has been the lead developer for the LifeCourse project’s online presence since 2013. She facilitates the technical growth and innovation of the site, maintains its ongoing technical structure and integrity, and designed and built the Measurement Library. Lucy works in close coordination with the LifeCourse Development Team to help digitally convey the extraordinary research produced by the cohorts in an accessible and aesthetic form.