Center for Life Course Health Research

The Center For Life Course Health Research (CLCHR) aims to sustainably provide excellence in research and training in two of the focus areas of the University of Oulu:

  • Molecular and environmental basis of life-long health
  • Digital solutions in sensing interactions

The CLCHR conducts research in life course and molecular epidemiology aimed at understanding health and aging, taking into account a number of modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors. The goal is to achieve a deep understanding of the following:

  • Metabolic diseases, i.e. obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, stroke
  • Mental health, i.e. depression, anxiety, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease
  • Musculoskeletal diseases
  • Unhealthy aging
  • Social Inequality and Health Gradient
  • Functional decline

Our research activity focuses on understanding ill health and the factors acting upon it to inform strategy for health promotion (early life), health preservation (aging) and prevention. We are also developing a large international consortium in early growth, life-course modeling and metabolomics to detect, amongst others, the causal pathways to long-term ill health by using large population multi-omics approaches. As a general perspective, the researcher in life course and molecular epidemiology aims at:

  • Studying the association of multi-level risk factors for disease (or their underlying pre-clinical phenotypes) and understanding the interaction and the way the multilayers of risk operate through the life course.
  • Discovering the Genetics, Epigenetics and other molecular pathways underpinning the risk of disease (or their underlying pre-clinical phenotypes) starting from early life
  • Testing the causal inference of specific risk factors on the risk of diseases
  • Establishing robust biomarkers of diseases and aging
  • Stratifying diseases according to bio-psycho and social risk factors
  • Consolidating data for open-access research in life-course health research

The Center For Life Course Health Research in Oulu trains early stage researchers either at master, doctoral student or postdoctoral level. The early stage researchers are taught in an international environment with team members from five countries, interacting in a truly European environment. The CLCHR is the coordinator of a large H2020 project in health care ( and a leading player in a newly funded H2020 lifecycle project (coordinated by the Erasmus Center in Rotterdam). In addition to these, the researchers within the CLCHR have been able to attract substantial funding from the academy of Finland and other sources to implement their research strategy.

Head of Unit: Professor Markku Timonen

Vice Head of Unit: Clinical Instructor Juha Auvinen