Development Across the Lifespan

There is a growing body of evidence that life course exposures may play a role in the development of many of the acute and chronic diseases, disability and injury that form the major public health problems in both developed and developing countries. Until recently most of the research on the early life origins of disease and disability focused on intrauterine growth and development, but there is growing evidence of the importance of postnatal growth and developmental trajectories in the development of disease risk across the lifespan. The relative influence of early as compared with later life factors is yet to be fully determined and is likely to differ by disease and disability outcome and by time and place, and a life-span approach is particularly important as the population demographics shift, with Canada aging faster now than at any other time in history.

Foci include:

  • Creating synergies among basic, applied, and population studies that employ a life-course perspective, focusing on long-term outcomes of early experiences (e.g., the effects of biology, behaviour and environments);
  • Shifting developmental pathways of children with special needs toward improved function and societal participation;
  • Understanding the forces and experiences that shape human development throughout the adult life course (e.g., life course transitions in areas such as family, work, or health; development in the context of historical, demographic and social change).

We invite you to share your ideas on transdisciplinary research and educational initiatives that fall within the Development Across the Lifespan theme.

Who We Are: Theme Leaders

Parminder Raina

Parminder Raina a professor in the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics and is the director of the McMaster University Evidence-based Practice Centre.

His areas of specialization include epidemiology of aging, informal and formal social support, income and health, disability, epidemiological methods and injury.

Website: Click to view

Allison Sekuler

Allison Sekuler is Associate Vice President and Dean, Gradaute Studies,and holds a Canada Research Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience in the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour.

Her research focuses on visual perception, and she combines innovative behavioural techniques with modern neuroimaging approaches to understand how our brains interpret the world around us.

Website: Click to view

News and Events

In Spring 2007, Collaborations for Heatlh issued a Call for Proposals for seed funding for reseach grants. For a list of successful projects, click here.

Evidence-Based Treatments for Childhood and Adolescent Mental Health Problems, 5th Biennial Niagara Conference.  July 18 – 21, 2007.  Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario, Canada.  This interdisciplinary conference focussed on state-of-the-art, evidence-based interventions for mental health problems in children and adolescents. 

An endowed research chair in optimal aging has been established as a joint initiative between the faculties of Social Sciences and Health Sciences. A search is underway for the first holder of the The Raymond and Margaret Labarge Chair in Research and Knowledge Application for Optimal Aging. For details on the chair announcement, click here.

The recently established McMaster Child Health Research Institute will co-ordinate, initiate, and support interfaculty, interdisciplinary research and training in child health research and family well-being from a ‘life course’ perspective. It will be integral to the Development Across the Lifespan theme. For details on the institute, click here.

Brain Buzz

This forum was held to allow researchers from various disciplines with interests in this theme to discover quickly if there were common grounds in which they could pursue worthwhile research. In an “intellectual speed dating” format, participants met with every individual who attended for five minutes each. For notes from Brain Buzz, click here.