The Groningen Institute of Evolutionary Life Sciences (GELIFES) fills a special niche in the field of life sciences that not only covers mechanistic, evolutionary and ecological approaches, but also specifically aims at the integration of these fields to provide a full understanding of fundamental biological processes. Evolution on a long time scale has shaped the regulatory mechanisms acting on short time scales that determine the potential and limitations of adaptive capacity. This is relevant for understanding the prevalence and treatment of diseases, including neuropsychiatric disorders, as well as individual differences in aging and health that determine the scope for personalized medicine. In turn, the nature of these mechanisms determines the potential, direction, speed, and limitation of evolutionary change. This is important, e.g. for understanding speciation and changes in biodiversity, predicting effects of global change, and brain adaptations to cope with environmental challenges.