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[November 14, 2007]


Distinguished Professors and Chancellor’s Award Winners Recognized

A special reception was held recently at SUNY Downstate Medical Center to celebrate those faculty members newly honored by the State University of New York Board of Trustees with the title of distinguished professor, the highest academic rank conferred by the University, and also those faculty who received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence.

Dr. Paulette Bernd and Dr. M.A.Q. Siddiqui received the title of distinguished professor. The 2007 Chancellor’s Award for Excellence was bestowed upon Drs. William J. Chirico, Marcia Gerber, Todd C. Sacktor, and Fredric Volkert.

Paulette Bernd, PhD, who was named distinguished teaching professor of anatomy and cell biology, is recognized for her contributions to education and administration in the College of Medicine and the School of Graduate Studies. As discipline director for Gross Anatomy and director of the Musculoskeletal Block, she has introduced many curricular improvements that have enhanced student learning.

M.A.Q. Siddiqui, PhD, named distinguished service professor of anatomy and cell biology, is internationally known for his contributions to molecular cardiology. As chair of anatomy and cell biology, he has provided strong leadership to the department since 1987. He is also founder and director of Downstate’s Center for Cardiovascular and Muscle Research, where discoveries in molecular genetics are being translated into clinical applications that will help patients.

Each of the four campus members who received the 2007 Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence has made major contributions to their departments, to SUNY Downstate, and to the State University of New York as a whole.

William J. Chirico, PhD, associate professor of anatomy and cell biology, received the
Chancellor’s Award for excellence in faculty service. He has greatly enriched the intellectual environment of his department, and as director of the Molecular and Cell Biology Program, his service to the School of Graduate Studies has been similarly outstanding.

Marcia Gerber, MD, clinical associate professor of medicine, received the award for excellence in professional service. During her 40 years at Downstate, she has provided enormous assistance to faculty, students, and staff by serving as director of the Student and Employee Health Service, as clinical assistant dean, and as supervisor of the Student Counseling Service.

Todd C. Sacktor, MD, professor of physiology and pharmacology and of neurology, is a widely respected clinician-scientist who has played a key role in establishing Downstate’s reputation as a center for cutting-edge neuroscientific research. He received the Chancellor’s Award for excellence in scholarship and creative activities in recognition of his pioneering research on the molecular basis of long-term memory storage, research that Science magazine deemed among the top ten science stories of 2006.

Fredric C. Volkert, PhD, received the award for teaching excellence. A tenured assistant professor of microbiology and immunology and assistant dean for program and faculty development, he is also director of the Infection, Inflammation, and Immunity block for second-year medical students. An accomplished communicator, he is admired by students and faculty alike for his breadth of knowledge and skill in imparting that knowledge to his students.

In 2006, distinguished professorships were awarded to Dr. Eva Cramer, Dr. Stanley Friedman, Dr. Robert Wong, and to the late Dr. Henri Begleiter.