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Human Health & Life Sciences

We eat too much and we eat too unhealthily. We spend too much time seated and we do not exercise enough. We smoke and drink too much. And we are getting older. This combination of factors is leading to unsustainably high healthcare costs. Quite simply, society can no longer afford it. The solution is both simple and complex: we need to be healthier. But what exactly is health? How do we become healthier? And how do we stay healthy?

Finding answers demands the best efforts of a variety of disciplines that come together in Human Health & Life Sciences (H2LS) at VU Amsterdam and Vrije Universiteit Medical Center Amsterdam. This profile involves medics and biologists, but also physicists, ethicists, psychologists and sports scientists, all working together to ensure that we can meet the demand for healthcare, both today and in the future.

Sickness and health, prevention and cure - these are different sides of the same coin. By discovering illnesses before they make us sick, and by developing better treatments, we can all lead healthier lives. But at the same time, diet, exercise and sport also have a role to play. The more we know about the effects of these things, the easier it will be to prevent people from getting sick.

However, we do not look purely at the ‘what’ and the ‘how’. Expanding our breadth of knowledge will itself give rise to further questions. Questions relating to policy, for example, or about the role of the government. Where does the right to personal freedom end and the importance of our collective well-being begin? These issues are the subject of particular attention at VU Amsterdam. The H2LS profile thus extends from molecules to human beings to society as a whole.

With our research and education, we want to make the world better. By focusing on education and research along the four profile themes, we encourage collaboration between different fields. VU Amsterdam offers various undergraduate programs that are associated with the Human Health & Life Sciences theme.

During the 135th anniversary of VU Amsterdam, four anniversary conferences took place, including the conference ‘Knowledge in action’.