Quantifying Social Influences Throughout the Life Course: Action, Structure and ‘Omics’

  • Michael P. Kelly
  • Rachel S. Kelly


In this chapter, we describe the synergies between ‘omics’ and sociology, and how the human interactome can be read as a timeline of a life. Environmental influences at every stage of the life course (ancestry, prenatal and perinatal exposures, recent contemporary experiences) can be characterised in a human’s ‘omes’, that is, their epigenome, genome, transcriptome, proteome and metabolome. We propose that ‘omic’ technologies integrated with sociological accounts of the dynamic nature of social life offer the possibility of understanding both the biological and social consequences of exposures to environmental stressors (including social deprivation and disadvantage); the recursive social and biological nature of these exposures; and the consequences for the patterning of morbidity and mortality in populations within and between societies and across generations.


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael P. Kelly
    • 1
  • Rachel S. Kelly
    • 2
  1. 1.Primary Care Unit, Institute of Public HealthUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK
  2. 2.Systems Genetics and Genomics Unit, Channing Division of Network Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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