When the telescope was invented, scientists discovered whole worlds we never knew existed, and came to understand how the universe and our own world work. When the microscope was invented, scientists revealed an inner universe, a world in a drop of water. That triggered whole new scientific fields and a deeper understanding of human health — what makes us sick and how to keep us well.
The Human Project is a groundbreaking research platform being developed as a public resource to solve some of the toughest challenges we face. By discovering critical connections between our biology, behavior, and environment, it aims to enable major advancements in medicine, yield new therapeutics, advance our understanding of human behavior, and foster evidence-based public policies that improve lives.
Many of the solutions to big human challenges hide in plain sight.
Now, The Human Project at New York University is making the next giant leap by allowing scientists to discover and connect important clues that have been hiding in plain sight. By uncovering millions of invisible connections between ourselves and others, between our behavior and our environment, we can solve the puzzle to a better, longer life.
What is The Human Project?
How does it work?
How can it help?
Using supercomputers housed in The Human Project’s ultra-secure data vault, scientists can seek solutions to big health and public policy questions. Some of the issues they might explore include:
Many researchers believe the answer to Alzheimer’s lies in prevention, but we know so little about what causes the disease. By uncovering how our bodies, behavior, and environment contribute, our study may provide clues that can help to reduce risk.
By studying how New Yorkers get around, we’ll be able to monitor congestion patterns to identify underserved communities. We’ll learn how a tough commute affects health, quality of life, and costs, so we can pursue equitable, evidence-based solutions.
By bringing in- and out-of-school data together, we can better understand the complex factors that influence student success. We could build “early warning systems” to identify and support at-risk students before they truly begin to struggle.
Depression and mental health
So many people struggle with depression and other mental health issues. Early intervention can reduce hospitalizations and suicide rates. We could develop tools to predict acute depressive episodes, so people can get help when it makes the most difference.
Diet and nutrition
We’ll better understand the dietary choices people make and how those affect health. That could enable more consistent guidance about healthy eating and help policymakers improve access to high-quality food in every neighborhood.
Gentrification and affordable housing
By following New Yorkers over 20 years, we’ll gain new insights about what happens as a community gentrifies? Who stays? Who leaves? How are those families affected and what specific steps might we take to ease their challenges?