"Productively is the way to age," says Ruth Finkelstein, associate director of Columbia’s Robert N. Butler Aging Center. She discusses the center's interdisciplinary approach to studying aging and the implications of longer lifespans on society.

Yaakov Stern, a professor in the departments in Neurology, Psychiatry, and Psychology, is affiliated with the Sergievsky Center and the Taub Institute. His research centers on age-related changes in memory, and why similar patients may show more cognitive deficit than others.


A behavioral economist, Wojciech Kupczuk, studies how people make financial choices, particularly having to do with wealth transfer, inheritance and savings decisions—all issues that affect an aging population.


Michael Purdy, Columbia’s executive vice president for research, oversees the polices that govern University research and works to bring Columbia’s many disciplines together where their areas of study overlap.

René Hen, a professor of neuroscience and psychiatry, studies the effects of mood disorders in animals and memory deficits. His lab has found a commonality between chronic stress and age-related memory problems, both of which lead to a drop in the production of neurons.

Franck Polleux, a professor of neuroscience, joined the Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute in 2013, where he studies the early brain development in mammals as well as the parts of the brain that lose synapses during early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

After serving as chief executive officer of Aetna Inc., Jack Rowe became a professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Mailman School of Public Health.

Geriatrician Ruth Finkelstein, an assistant professor of health policy and management, works on ways to boost the quality of life and health of those at retirement age or older.

Thomas A. DiPrete is Giddings Professor of Sociology, co-director of the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy (ISERP), co-director of the Center for the Study of Wealth and Inequality at Columbia University, and a faculty member of the Columbia Population Research Center.

As founding director of the Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center, Ursula Staudinger, a lifespan psychologist, focuses on what happens in a society whose population is living longer than ever.