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The Robert F. Furchgott Society

Past Society Presidents


Henri Tiedge, PhD

Dr. Robert Furchgott was awarded the 1998 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, together with Drs. Louis Ignarro and Ferid Murad, for their work on "nitric oxide as a signaling molecule in the cardiovascular system." This was the first discovery of a gas that can act as a biological signal in and between cells. It inspired research around the world and led to significant advances in biomedical research and pharmaceutical development.

In 2005, Dr. Alfred Stracher established the Robert F. Furchgott Society as a tribute to Dr. Furchgott's work and achievements here at SUNY Downstate Medical Center. The Society is dedicated to commemorating Dr. Furchgott's legacy by promoting excellence in research at SUNY Brooklyn. Since its inception, it has made annual awards to postdoctoral basic scientists and clinical fellows in recognition of outstanding research. The Society also supports the School of Graduate Studies by honoring a graduating PhD student for exceptional research achievements.

In spring each year, the Furchgott Society hosts the annual Robert F. Furchgott Visiting Professorship. On this occasion, an eminent scientist is invited to deliver the Robert F. Furchgott lecture. The inaugural Visiting Professor was Dr. Harold Varmus, President of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, in 2007.

Together with the Robert F. Furchgott Center for Neural and Behavioral Science, the Society will proudly continue to honor the memory of a great scientist. We are grateful to all donors and Society members whose invaluable support has been central to furthering our mission.

photo of Richard Macchia

Richard J. Macchia, MD, FACS served as the first President of the Robert F. Furchgott Society from 2007 until 2010. Under his leadership the Society expanded its award funding mechanisms to include travel awards for residents and post doctoral fellows to support research presentations at scientific conferences, as well as an award for excellence in Research for basic science and clinical fellows and medical residents. He also established the annual Visiting Professor Lectureship to invite award winning scientist such as Nobel Laureates to our campus.

In January 2010 he retired as chairman and ACGME Program Director and from clinical practice at SUNY Downstate. He remains as SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor and program advisor. He continues to practice urology part-time at the Cleveland Clinic Florida, where his former student and resident, Dr. Lawrence Hakim, is Chief of Service-urology. He was appointed professor and chairman, and ACGME Program Director of the Department of Urology at the State University of NY Downstate Medical School (SUNY Downstate) in 1982 and served in those capacities until 2010. During that period he was also Chief of Urology at University Hospital Brooklyn and Kings County Hospital Center. The Chancellor of State University of New York appointed him to the rank of Distinguished Teaching Professor in 1997. In December, 2003 he was appointed Consultant, Department of Urology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). He continues to be available as a consultative resource to our Academic Executive Committee for the purpose of enhancement of our great urology residency program."

Dr. Macchia has lectured at numerous academic institutions and meetings in the US, Europe and Japan. He has also co-authored over 120 scientific articles and abstracts including 26 textbook chapters and proceedings. He has also been co-investigator on many collaborative projects and holds an NCI grant as local principal investigator for the SELECT clinical trial. He has served on the external advisory boards of several internationally renowned institutions.

He has been listed more than 60 times in various "best doctor" publications. New York Magazine listed him as one of "The Best Doctors in New York City" in its inaugural issue. He is also routinely listed in Castle-Connolly's "Best Doctors in America", the "Guide to America's Top Urologists" by the Consumer's Research Council of America and "New York Super Doctors".

In 1998 he accompanied Dr. Robert Furchgott to Stockholm when Dr. Furchgott received the Nobel Prize. In 1998, he was designated Master Teacher in Urology by the SUNY Downstate COM Alumni Association. In May, 2003 the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health presented him with its Leadership in Urban Medicine Award. In June, 2005 Dr. Macchia was presented with the very first SUNY Downstate College of Nursing Excellence in Clinical Teaching Award. In 2005, Maimonides Medical Center named him the 19th annual Immergut Lecturer. He was named as the physician honoree at the celebration of the 175th anniversary of the founding of Kings County Hospital Center in 2006. In 2007, he became the first ever president of the Robert F. Furchgott Society. In March 2007 he received the first ever Golden Apple Teaching Award from the SUNY Downstate Medical School chapter of the AOA honor society. In 2008 he was named the first President of the MSKCC Whitmore Alumni Society, the first person to hold that title.

Dr. Macchia is most proud of his students and residents. Former residents are now internationally recognized leaders in urology at such institutions as Weill Cornell, UCSF, UCLA, NYU, Mt Sinai-NYC, University of Georgia, Cleveland Clinic Florida, Duke, SUNY Downstate, SUNY Stony Brook, Harvard, University of Indiana, Beth Israel Medical Center-NYC, University of Illinois, Brown University, and University of Florida. Many others are in successful private practices throughout the country. Similarly, many of his former students are on the faculties of medical schools across the US Clark-Curran Award in Medical Administration by the SUNY Downstate College of Medicine Alumni Association in May, 2011.