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[August 21, 2013]

SUNY Downstate's Robert F. Furchgott Society Awards Three for Outstanding Research

 

Each year, SUNY Downstate Medical Center's Robert F. Furchgott Society recognizes medical students, graduate students, and residents for excellence in basic science and clinical research. This year it honored three awardees with cash awards that totaled $13,000.

The Society's namesake, Robert F. Furchgott, PhD, was an extraordinary scientist who made major contributions to the understanding of cardiovascular physiology and pharmacology as a member of SUNY Downstate’s faculty. Dr. Furchgott was awarded the 1998 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology for identifying the fundamental role that nitric oxide (NO) plays in the regulation of cardiovascular function. The Society’s 2013 awardees include Trevor Sweeney, PhD, a post-doctoral research fellow in SUNY Downstate’s Department of Cell Biology; Farah Hussain, MD, a Downstate College of Medicine student who graduated in June 2013; and Downstate MD/PhD student Lana Rabinovich.

Dr. Sweeney was named the 2013 Robert F. Furchgott Scholar. After receiving his PhD from the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine in London, he joined the lab of Christopher Hellen, PhD, and Tatyana Pestova, PhD, to study translation initiation of viral proteins. Dr. Sweeney has developed the first in vitro reconstitution assay to study the Type 1 class of internal ribosomal entry sites. His research has shed new light on the translation mechanism used by poliovirus and related viruses such as enterovirus71 (which causes hand, foot, and mouth disease) and coxsackievirus (which can cause heart disease).

Dr. Hussain was recognized with the Robert F. Furchgott Medical Student Award for Excellence in Research. She conducted research on the role of microRNAs in the physiology of atherosclerosis, research that she began after her first year of medical school in the laboratory of Kathryn Moore, PhD, at NYU Medical Center. Outside of her research, Dr. Hussain was an active member of the Downstate community. She served on her class Med Council, the Student Liaison Committee, and the LCME Reaccreditation Committee. This fall, she begins a residency in internal medicine at Columbia University - New York Presbyterian Hospital.

Lana Rabinovich, PhD, who received the Robert F. Furchgott Award for Excellence in Research, recently completed her thesis work under the supervision of Christopher Parks, PhD, Ross Lindsay, PhD, and Maria Chiuchiolo, PhD, at the Design and Development Laboratory of the International Aids Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), and is now entering her fourth year of medical school. The author of a number of research articles and patents, Dr. Rabinovich is also the recipient of the 2012 Keystone Vaccines Symposia Travel Scholarship and the Jonas E. Salk Award for significant research potential as an undergraduate student.

In January 2014 there will be a call for applications from medical students, research fellows, and residents for next year's awards.  To join the Robert F. Furchgott Society, or to submit an application for an award, contact Rose M. Jackman, MPH, director, at 718-270-4786, or visit its webpage:  www.downstate.edu/RFFS  .

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SUNY Downstate Medical Center, founded in 1860, was the first medical school in the United States to bring teaching out of the lecture hall and to the patient’s bedside. A center of innovation and excellence in research and clinical service delivery, SUNY Downstate Medical Center comprises a College of Medicine, Colleges of Nursing and Health Related Professions, a School of Graduate Studies, a School of Public Health, University Hospital of Brooklyn, and an Advanced Biotechnology Park and Biotechnology Incubator.

SUNY Downstate ranks ninth nationally in the number of alumni who are on the faculty of American medical schools.  More physicians practicing in New York City have graduated from SUNY Downstate than from any other medical school.

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