Program on The Science of Health


The Science of Health program at the CAC seeks to generate a scientific understanding of the biological and psychological processes that underpin an overall state of health, and to foster use of that understanding to improve health in human societies. Drawing on complex systems theory and integrating with lifecourse approaches, we seek to propose novel ways to conceive of, and measure, the biological processes that collaborate to produce a state of overall health. These scientific goals should advance the ability to promote and protect health of populations and individuals.


Related Faculty

Alan Cohen, PhD
Dr. Cohen is interested in understanding how our bodies maintain dynamic equilibrium – how evolution has shaped networks of biological and physiological mechanisms that keep us in balance across changing conditions. This understanding can lead to metrics of equilibrium that are more integrative that standard molecule-by-molecule, and that could serve as a basis for understanding health, aging, and longevity across individuals, populations, and species. I rely largely on epidemiological data (or similar data in other species) to understand how networks of biomarkers change over time.


Key Citations

Cohen AA, Ferrucci L, Fülöp T, et al. A complex systems approach to aging biology. Nat Aging 2, 580–591 (2022).
Cohen AA, Leung DL, Legault V, Gravel D, Blanchet FG, Côté AM, Fulop T, Lee J, Dufour F, Liu M, Nakazato Y. (2022). Synchrony of biomarker variability indicates a critical transition: Application to mortality prediction in hemodialysis. iScience, 25(6): 104385.
Cohen AA, Kennedy BK, et al. (2020). Lack of consensus on an aging biology paradigm? A global survey reveals an agreement to disagree, and the need for an interdisciplinary framework. Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, 191:111316. doi: 10.1016/j.mad.2020.111316.
Li Q, Wang S, Milot E, Bergeron P, Ferrucci L, Fried LP, Cohen AA. (2015). Homeostatic dysregulation proceeds in parallel in multiple physiological systems. Aging Cell, 14(6):1103-12. doi: 10.1111/acel.12402.