I act as the Director of the Scientific Agenda at the HUMAN Project, an interdisciplinary research platform that serves as a public resource investigating connections between minds, bodies, and the environment to enable the development of new theories, therapeutics, and policy recommendations to solve societal challenges.
Some abstracts of papers for the HUMAN Project with which I was involved are below:
Using Big Data to Understand the Human Condition
Okan Azmak, Hannah Bayer, Andrew Caplin, Miyoung Chun, Paul Glimcher, Steven Koonin, and Aristides Patrinos
Abstract: Until now, most large-scale studies of humans have either focused on very specific domains of inquiry or have relied on between-subjects approaches. While these previous studies have been invaluable for revealing important biological factors in cardiac health or social factors in retirement choices, no single repository contains anything like a complete record of the health, education, genetics, environmental, and lifestyle profiles of a large group of individuals at the within-subject level. This seems critical today because emerging evidence about the dynamic interplay between biology, behavior and the environment point to a pressing need for just the kind of large-scale, long-term synoptic dataset that does not yet exist at the within-subject level. At the same time that the need for such a dataset is becoming clear, there is also growing evidence that just such a synoptic dataset may now be obtainable – at least at moderate scale – using contemporary Big Data approaches. To this end, we introduce the Kavli HUMAN Project (KHP), an effort to aggregate data from 2,500 New York City households in all five boroughs (roughly 10,000 individuals) whose biology and behavior will be measured using an unprecedented array of modalities over 20 years. It will also richly measure environmental conditions and events that KHP members experience using a geographic information system (GIS) database of unparalleled scale, currently under construction in New York. In this manner, KHP will offer both synoptic and granular views of how human health and behavior co-evolve over the life cycle and why they evolve differently for different people. In turn, we argue that this will allow for new discovery-based scientific approaches, rooted in Big Data analytics, to improving the health and quality of human life, particularly in urban contexts.
Opportunities for New Insights on the Life-Course Risks and Outcomes of Cognitive Decline in the Kavli HUMAN Project
Kenneth Langa and David Cutler
Abstract: The Kavli HUMAN Project (KHP) will provide groundbreaking insights into how biological, medical, and social factors interact and impact the risks for cognitive decline from birth through older age. It will richly measure the effect of cognitive decline on the ability to perform key activities of daily living. In addition, due to its family focus, the KHP will measure the impact on family members, including the amount of time that family members spend providing care to older adults with dementia. It will also clarify the division of caregiving duties among family members and the effects on caregivers’ work, family life, and balance thereof. At the same time, for care that the family cannot provide, it will clarify the extent to which cognitive decline impacts healthcare utilization and end-of-life decision-making.
More about the project can be found at https://thehumanproject.org/.