Skip to main content

Lifepath: Lifecourse biological pathways underlying social differences in healthy ageing

The dramatic differentials in healthy ageing, quality of life and life expectancy between individuals of different socioeconomic groups, is a major societal challenge facing Europe. This project is funded by the European Commission, Horizon 2020 under Health, Demographic Change and Wellbeing. 

Click here for the full list of partners.


The overarching aim of the LIFEPATH project is to understand the determinants of diverging ageing pathways among individuals belonging to different socio-economic groups. This will be achieved via an original study design that integrates social science approaches with biology (including molecular epidemiology), using existing population cohorts and omics measurements (particularly epigenomics).

The specific objectives of the project are:

  1. To show that healthy ageing is an achievable goal for society, as it is already experienced by individuals of high socio-economic status (SES)
  2. To improve the understanding of the mechanisms through which healthy ageing pathways diverge by SES, by investigating lifecourse biological pathways using omic technologies
  3. To examine the consequences of the current economic recession on health and the biology of ageing (and the consequent increase in social inequalities
  4. To provide updated, relevant and innovative evidence for healthy ageing policies (particularly “health in all policies”) that address social disparities in ageing and the social determinants of health, using both observational studies as well as an experimental approach based on the existing "conditional cash transfer" experiment in New York.


To achieve these objectives we will use data from three categories of studies:

  1. Europe-wide or national surveys combined with population registry data
  2. Cohorts with intense phenotyping and repeat biological samples (total population >33,000)
  3. Large cohorts with biological samples (total population >202,000). The cohorts will provide information on healthy ageing at different stages of life, based on the concepts of life-course epidemiology ("build-up and decline") and multimorbidity. 
Project status: Completed

Principal Investigator


Funding Body: European Commission

Amount: €5,999,757

Period: May 2015 - April 2019