A child draws with a crayon on a paper attached to a clipboard while she sits on a blue carpet with other children and her teacher

Life Span Institute

We are a network of more than 400 KU scientists, students and staff who strive to improve the health of individuals and communities through research, service and outreach.

Featured News

Heat waves disproportionately increase health risks for people with disabilities

Heat can exacerbate preexisting conditions, including neurological, respiratory, cardiovascular diseases, and more. While the risk of heat-related illness applies to everyone, those at the highest risk include the very young, older adults, and people with disabilities.

Social stigma creates barriers to treatment for people with substance use disorders

Stigma associated with substance use can dehumanize people, increase shame and be a roadblock for those who might seek assistance or health care.

Pilot study aims to engage exercise virtually among mobility impaired individuals

Researchers at the Life Span Institute’s Research and Training Center on Independent Living are working to learn more about effective ways to promote aerobic exercise among this group with a pilot study involving 10 participants in a 16-week virtual intervention program. 

Researchers describe how federal funding supports individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities nationwide

University of Kansas researchers shared information about how federal funds are distributed to each state to help individuals, families and caretakers.

Research at a Glance

in research awards in FY23
investigators, staff and students
years of improving human health and development
researchers, teachers and administrators talking at a high school classroom table

Our Commitment

Explore how our researchers, staff and students come together to solve problems affecting the health of children, families and communities.

Helping People Thrive
Man using assistive communications device while seated in an electric wheelchair

Our Work

Learn about the research of more than 130 investigators working on dozens of projects spanning education, self-determination, disability policy, neuroscience, behavior, language, child development and more.

Explore research projects
A woman reading a book to a child who is looking up at her

Research Rising

Research Rising will address the complex genetic, biological, and environmental factors that cause intellectual and developmental disabilities, and how best to develop interventions to support individuals with IDD so that they can live their best lives.

Research Rising

Explore the Life Span Institute


More than 400 investigators, staff and students are part of the KU Life Span Institute. Find individual staff and connect with our research centers.

Research Impact

View stories about the impact of our research, grant news, and discoveries from the fields of education, addiction, autism spectrum disorder, community health and more.

Research Support

Connect with services that support researchers including study design, grant development, award support, and video and web production.