Steven N. Austad, Ph.D., appointed as inaugural Protective Life Endowed Chair in Healthy Aging Research at UAB

·4 min read

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., October 21, 2021--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A partnership between the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Protective Life Corporation focuses on advancing the science of healthy aging, including a $1.5 million investment, announced in May, to create the Protective Life Endowed Chair in Healthy Aging Research. The University of Alabama System Board of Trustees recently approved the appointment of Steven N. Austad, Ph.D., one of the most respected minds in healthy aging research, as the inaugural Protective Life Endowed Chair in Healthy Aging Research, enabling him to build on his pioneering legacy to establish Birmingham as a global epicenter for healthy aging research.

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Stephen N. Austadt, Ph.D. has been named as the inaugural Protective Life Endowed Chair in Health Aging Research at UAB. (Photo: Business Wire)

"Dr. Austad is an international trailblazer in the science of aging, and we are thrilled to see him named as the inaugural Protective Life Endowed Chair in Healthy Aging Research at UAB," said Rich Bielen, president and CEO of Protective. "At Protective, we are proud to be able to play a role in advancing healthy aging research, which will ultimately help people live longer, healthier lives and have a significant impact on our industry."

Austad will lead a collaborative team of healthy aging researchers in the UAB College of Arts and Sciences, Marnix E. Heersink School of Medicine, School of Public Health, School of Health Professions and others on interdisciplinary research to better understand the aging process as it relates to morbidity and mortality, prepare our society for future demographic shifts, and invest in people’s well-being.

"Dr. Austad has shown outstanding leadership in the College of Arts and Sciences as he continues to advance his groundbreaking research in healthy aging," said UAB President Ray L. Watts. "We are grateful to Protective Life for this new endowed chair that will provide a platform for building an interdisciplinary team focusing on the mechanics of the aging process."

Austad currently serves as the chair of the UAB Department of Biology, senior scientific director of the American Federation for Aging Research and co-director of the UAB Nathan Shock Center of Excellence in the Basic Biology of Aging.

In addition to the Protective Life Endowed Chair in Healthy Aging Research, Protective’s total $2 million investment toward advancing the science of healthy aging also funds the Protective Life Healthy Aging and Research Acceleration and Innovation Fund. This fund will drive further research efforts, while also expanding awareness about the findings and applications to advance the field and improve quality of life in aging individuals.

Tokyo-based Dai-ichi Life Holdings, Inc., parent company of Protective, is dedicated to helping solve various social issues, including healthy aging, and shares the vision to advance research that will help people live longer, healthier lives.

About UAB

Known for its innovative and interdisciplinary approach to education at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, a part of the University of Alabama System, is an internationally renowned research university and academic medical center with over $600 million in research awards annually, as well as Alabama’s largest employer, with some 23,000 employees, and has an annual economic impact exceeding $7 billion on the state. The pillars of UAB’s mission include education, research, innovation and economic development, community engagement, and patient care. Learn more at

About Protective Life Corporation

Founded in 1907, Protective Life Corporation is on a mission to help more people achieve protection and security in their lives. Across its life insurance, annuity and asset protection solutions, the company helps more than 12 million people protect what matters most. Protective’s more than 3,500 employees put people first and deliver on the company’s promises to customers, partners, colleagues and communities – because we’re all protectors. With a long-term focus, financial stability and commitment to doing the right thing, Protective, a wholly owned subsidiary of Dai-ichi Life Holdings, Inc. (TSE:8750), has grown to over $127 billion in assets as of Dec. 31, 2020. Protective is headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, and is supported by its robust virtual workforce and core sites in Cincinnati and St. Louis. For more information about Protective, please visit

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Brittnie Bordonaro

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Alicia Rohan

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