Announcing Our 2015 Faculty Research Fellows

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center is pleased to announce its first cohort of Faculty Research Fellows.  The Center's competitive awards are designed to expand the breadth of aging research across Columbia University. Increased life expectancies in both the developed and developing world are leading to larger and larger populations living into their 70s, 80s, and 90s. With this funding, the Center supports research on the modifiability of human aging to optimize our longer lives.

“Understanding aging becomes more important every year as more and more people live longer lives,” says Ursula M. Staudinger, PhD, the Robert N. Butler Professor of Sociomedical Sciences and professor of psychology who directs the Columbia Aging Center. “The pool of applicants in our first call for proposals reinforces my conviction that Columbia has the potential to become a leader in research on the positive plasticity of aging.”  The successful candidates work on topics as wide-ranging as the role of parathyroid hormone in cognitive decline, successful aging among lesbian and gay adults, and the role of the built environment in delaying chronic diseases.

The first call for proposals for the Center’s Faculty Research Fellowship program was launched last fall. Researchers across the entire Columbia campus are eligible to apply. The program’s purpose is to enable interdisciplinary study of the biopsychosocial nature of the aging process and its modifiability. With this announcement, the Center awards a total of $150,000 to the first cohort. Beginning in 2016, the Center will award $300,000 annually to ten different researchers.

Congratulations to the 2015 Columbia Aging Center Faculty Research Fellows below. For details on their projects, please click here.

Sunil Agrawal, PhD, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and of Rehabilitation and Regenerative Medicine, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Columbia University Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, for his proposal “Reducing Risk of Falls in the Old by Training with Controlled Pelvis Force Perturbations.”

Walter O. Bockting, PhD, Professor of Medical Psychology (in Psychiatry and Nursing)
Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University Medical Center, for his proposal “Social Convoy and Successful Aging among Lesbian and Gay Older Adults.”

Gina S. Lovasi, PhD, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology, Department of Epidemiology, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, for her proposal “Local Environment, Chronic Disease Onset, and Aging in Place.”

Edward Owusu-Ansah, PhD, Assistant Professor of Physiology & Cellular Biophysics
Department of Physiology & Cellular Biophysics, Columbia University Medical Center, for his proposal “Boosting Proteostasis to Alleviate Aging Types in Drosophila.”

Marcella D. Walker, MD, MS, Associate Professor of Medicine, Department of Medicine (Endocrinology), College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University Medical Center, for her proposal “PTH – A Novel, Modifiable Risk Factor for Age-Related Cognitive Decline?”

The next call for proposals will be announced on December 1, 2015. For more information about the successful proposals and the next call, please email the Center's Senior Science and Strategy Officer, Caitlin Hawke:

Download our press release here