[September 18, 2006]
DOWNSTATE FACULTY, STAFF HONORED BY SUNY
Henri Begleiter; Robert Wong; Eva Cramer; Stanley Friedman; SuzanneS. Mirra; Mohamed Hussain; John Allen; Mary Germain Recognized
The State University of New York has honored four members of the faculty of SUNY Downstate Medical Center with distinguished professorships awarded by the Board of Trustees. Four SUNY Downstate faculty and staff also have been honored with Chancellor’s Awards from SUNY Chancellor John R. Ryan.
The distinguished professorship, distinguished service professorship, and distinguished teaching professorship titles are the means by which the Trustees recognize excellence among the faculty.
The distinguished professorship is the highest academic title conferred by the State University, reserved for those who have achieved national or international prominence and a distinguished reputation within his or her chosen field. The distinguished service professorship recognizes extraordinary service far beyond the University, and the distinguished teaching professorship confers University-wide recognition for consistently superb teaching.
The Chancellor’s Awards were given for excellence in the categories of Faculty Service, Librarianship, Professional Service, and Teaching.
Those named distinguished professor in 2005-2006 at Downstate are:
Henri Begleiter, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience
Dr. Begleiter, whose appointment was announced in March, less than a month before his death on April 6, 2006, was a world-renowned scientist whose research on the biological basis of alcoholism had a major impact on the fields of neuroscience, alcoholism, and genetics. Dr. Begleiter was the first to characterize brain dysfunction in alcoholics and the first to identify the genetic underpinnings of alcoholism. In his 42 years at Downstate, Dr. Begleiter held the record for attracting the most NIH funding, totaling more than $120 million. He received every major honor for alcoholism research.
Robert K. S. Wong, PhD, Professor and Chair of Physiology and Pharmacology
One of the nation’s leading physiologists, Dr. Wong’s groundbreaking studies have advanced the understanding of the basic mechanisms of epilepsy. Dr. Wong looks at means of communication among cells, particularly in the brain. With his colleagues at Downstate, Dr. Wong has identified two neurotransmitters involved in stimulating or inhibiting cell firing patterns during an epileptic seizure. Most recently, he identified a neurotransmitter that appears to link epilepsy to fragile X syndrome, a cause of mental retardation and autism.
The selection criteria for the rank of Distinguished Professor – an order above full professor – are extremely rigorous. Only four SUNY Downstate faculty members have previously received the title. They include Kiyomi Koizumi, PhD, a pioneer in the field of hypothalamic electrophysiology (2003); Alfred Stracher, MD, an expert on neuromuscular degenerative diseases (1997); Nobel Laureate Robert Furchgott, PhD, (1988); and Chandler McCuskey Brooks, for his contributions to neuroendocrinology (1971).
In addition to the distinguished professorships, the rank of distinguished service professor was awarded to:
Eva Brown Cramer, PhD, Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology
Eva Cramer has had a profound impact on SUNY Downstate and its surrounding community. In her role as vice president for biotechnology and scientific affairs, she has raised more than $78 million in the past five years to build an Advanced Biotechnology Incubator and Biotechnology Park and to develop the Brooklyn Army Terminal (BAT) as a site for biotechnology manufacturing. In doing so, she has established Downstate as a leader in New York City’s emerging biotechnology industry.
The rank of distinguished teaching professor was awarded to:
Stanley Friedman, MD, Professor of Pharmacology
Stanley Friedman, MD, who is also senior associate dean for education, is a physician-scientist who has demonstrated outstanding commitment to medical education at Downstate for more than 40 years. Dr. Friedman has directed the pharmacology program for more than 20 years, as well as the MD/PhD program in the School of Graduate Studies. Medical students give him high marks for his skill in facilitating case-based learning groups. Dr. Friedman has been active on many committees dedicated to curricular issues, ensuring that the first two years of basic science education remain current and clinically relevant.
A Chancellor’s Award for 2006 for faculty service was given to:
Suzanne S. Mirra, MD, Professor and Chair of Pathology and Professor of Neurology
Suzanne S. Mirra, MD, is a world-class neuropathologist who has provided exemplary service to her profession and to Downstate. An expert on Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Dr. Mirra has made major contributions toward understanding this disorder. She played a critical role in standardizing the neuropathological diagnosis of AD. From 2002-2005, Dr. Mirra was chair of the Self-Study Task Force that prepared for the most recent site visit by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, winning a full, eight-year accreditation.
An award for librarianship was given to:
Mohamed F. Hussain, MSLIS, Assistant Director for Research Management
Mohamed F. Hussain, MSLIS, is an outstanding librarian whose in-depth knowledge of the Medical Research Library comes from having worked in nearly each of its departments. As assistant director, he is responsible for reference, technical, and access services, as well as collection development, and has played a major role in ushering in the digital age by integrating print and electronic media and upgrading services to meet the changing needs of users.
An award for professional service was bestowed upon:
John M. Allen, Assistant Vice President for Scientific Affairs
John M. Allen has been central to the success of Downstate’s research enterprise for over 20 years. Highly respected for his expertise and superb organizational skills, he oversees virtually every research activity on campus. Mr. Allen is responsible for managing all intramural and extramural grant applications. He represents Downstate with foundations, private industry, and federal and state funding agencies.
Last, an award for teaching was given to:
Mary P. Germain, PhD, Associate Professor of Nursing
Dr. Germain is a leader in nursing education. The architect of graduate nursing education at Downstate, she developed and implemented the clinical nurse specialist and nurse practitioner program, and both have enjoyed full accreditation ever since. A retired colonel in the Army Nurse Corps, Dr. Germain spent 21 years as a nurse practitioner in the Reserves, performing overseas missions in Central America and in the International Bridges Program.