Ursula Staudinger Appointed as Founding Director of an Aging Center at Columbia

May 23, 2013

Ursula M. Staudinger, PhD, a distinguished scholar and academic leader in the field of lifespan and aging research, will join the Mailman School of Public Health as the founding director of a new Aging Center at Columbia and professor of Sociomedical Sciences starting July 1, 2013. With this appointment, the legacy of Robert N. Butler and the International Longevity Center (ILC) will find a new home and a prosperous future. The ILC and its Global Alliance will form an important part of the Center.

Dr. Staudinger will be joining the Mailman School from Germany, where she has been the founding Dean of the Jacobs Center on Lifelong Learning and Institutional Development at Jacobs University Bremen. Since 2003, she has directed this interdisciplinary research center focusing on the investigation of productive aging with a focus on education and the labor market. Under her leadership, six faculty members ranging from the neurosciences, human performance, psychology, and sociology to business administration and political science have been working together to decipher the potential of human aging.

Previously, Dr. Staudinger held a chair in lifespan psychology at the Technical University Dresden and had been a senior researcher for many years at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin. Dr. Staudinger's academic leadership is also reflected in her appointment as Vice President and Foreign Secretary of the German National Academy of Sciences, Chairwoman of the Board of the Federal Institute of Population Research, and Vice Chair of the Board of the Volkswagen Foundation.

Dr. Staudinger has demonstrated a compelling vision for the enhancement of aging research at the Mailman School as well as Columbia University at large, and to further strengthening the impact of that research in civil society and politics. Most important, she is dedicated to preserving and enriching the academic excellence of interdisciplinary aging research and its impact in higher education. 

Dr. Staudinger’s selection was the result of a vigorous international search. The Mailman School thanks Dr. John Rowe, Chair of the search committee, as well as all the members of the committee, for their hard work and devotion of time, energy and experience which resulted in this outstanding recruitment and appointment.