Letter from the Dean

photo of Mark Stewart

Mark Stewart, MD, PhD

Dear Applicants and Visitors,

I am pleased that you have taken the time to explore Graduate Studies at the State University of New York Downstate Health Sciences University. The State University of New York is an incredible entity with 64 campuses and well over 450,000 students. Downstate is one of SUNY’s 4 health science centers. Two of these are parts of much larger academic centers (Buffalo, Stony Brook), and two, Downstate in Brooklyn and Upstate in Syracuse, are dedicated health science centers. In spite of our relatively smaller size, we have enjoyed remarkable successes by our faculty and students.

One of the campus’ greatest strengths is its people. The collegial faculty, the diverse, energetic, bright student body, the dedicated support staff, and the residents of the community combine to make this a remarkable place to learn, work, and live.

I am the School of Graduate Studies’ fourth Dean since its founding as a Graduate Program in 1956 and Graduate School in 1966 by Chandler McCuskey Brooks. Dr. Brooks said that it was our duty to strive for excellence. He set an incredible standard of excellence that we all strive to meet through our research, teaching, and service.

The core programs of the School of Graduate Studies are multidisciplinary programs that include basic science and clinical faculty. Neural & Behavioral Science is our “oldest” multidisciplinary program. It started during the time when individual basic science departments were homes to smaller programs, but none was specifically home to neuroscience. The neuroscience community on this campus is exceptionally deep, with faculty research focused on everything from molecular to behavioral. The Program in Molecular & Cellular Biology was formed next. Originally home to everything that was not neuroscience, this program has grown into a clearer identity with concentrations in cardiovascular, fundamental cellular and molecular biology, cancer biology, and more. Our newest additions are a pair of MD/PhD programs that are jointly offered by Downstate and the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering in Albany. The MD training at Downstate is coupled with PhD training in Nanoscale Science or Nanoscale Engineering. This is an exciting offering to train the next generation of physician-scientists with the next generation of diagnostic and therapeutic tools. Finally, we have a re-invigorated partnership with the Institute for Basic Research in Staten Island. The Program in Developmental Neuroscience is offered by the faculty of both campuses and research opportunities are as diverse as the developmental disabilities they are aimed to alleviate. As always, do not hesitate to contact me (, or any of the Graduate School staff for help or information about our offerings.

Brooklyn is an amazing part of New York City, and Downstate is a remarkable research and educational institution. We celebrated our 160th anniversary in 2020. Thank you for visiting and I hope you choose to stay for a while – I did.

Mark Stewart, MD, PhD