SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University Appoints David J. Christini, Ph.D., as Senior Vice President of Research

By Office of Communications & Marketing | May 13, 2020

MEDIA CONTACT: John Gillespie | | (314) 708-9090

David J. Christini, Ph.D,Brooklyn, N.Y. (May 13, 2020) - SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University announced today that Brooklyn resident David J. Christini, Ph.D., has been appointed Senior Vice President of Research at Brooklyn's only academic medical center.

Over the last 20 years, Dr. Christini has served as Vice Dean at Weill Cornell Graduate School, as Assistant Dean of Scientific Computing at Weill Cornell Medicine (WCM), as Vice Chair of Basic Research in the WCM Department of Medicine, and as Director of Basic Cardiovascular Research at WCM.

In his new role, Dr. Christini will be responsible for expanding the research capacities at SUNY Downstate to better integrate research, clinical, and academic entities with a particular emphasis on the unique and diverse culture of the community served by Downstate.  Dr. Christini will also serve as the Operations Manager for the SUNY Downstate Research Foundation, which manages the pre- and post-award contract and grant funding for the University.

"Dr. Christini's entire career has been dedicated to advancing innovation through research, including active committee roles at the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, and to mentoring young researchers on their path toward scientific discovery," said Wayne. J. Riley, M.D., President of SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University. "I am confident that his passion and expertise will take Downstate's already robust research enterprise to new levels of discovery towards improving the health of people here in Brooklyn and, indeed, globally."

r. Christini currently serves as chair of a standing review committee at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and has served on more than 30 NIH or National Science Foundation panels.

"I am thrilled to be joining the Downstate team. It's obvious to me that there is strong enthusiasm and drive—led by Dr. Riley and throughout the faculty and staff—to make a real difference in medicine locally and globally,” said Dr. Christini.  “I am looking forward to leading the efforts to advance Downstate’s already impressive research, in part by leveraging the significant opportunities afforded to the institution by its local Brooklyn environment and community, in the service of that mission.”

Dr. Christini is a prolific researcher, publishing nearly 90 scientific papers and has had continuous NIH funding since 2004, as well as funding from the NSF, American Heart Association, and other foundations and organizations.

In addition to his research funding, he has been the Program Director on two NIH-funded training grants. He has served as a referee for more than 30 professional journals. He is a member of several professional organizations—including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Biophysical Society, the American Heart Association, the Biomedical Engineering Society, and the American Physiological Society—and has served in several national leadership positions including the elected Co-Chair of the 2021 Gordon Conference on Cardiac Arrhythmia Mechanisms, and as three-time Co-Chair of the Real-Time Techniques for Biological Experiments Conference, in 2005, 2012, and 2015.

Dr. Christini holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Pennsylvania State University. He earned both his Masters and Doctoral degrees in Biomedical Engineering from Boston University. He has four patents for devices related to his area of expertise in cardiology.

Dr. Christini is currently a Professor in the Department of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College. He will begin his new duties on June 1, 2020.


About SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University is the borough’s only academic medical center for health education, research, and patient care, and is a 342-bed facility serving the healthcare needs of New York City, and Brooklyn’s 2.6 million residents. University Hospital of Brooklyn (UHB) is Downstate’s teaching hospital, backed by the expertise of an outstanding medical school and the research facilities of a world-class academic center. More than 800 physicians, representing 53 specialties and subspecialties—many of them ranked as tops in their fields—comprise Downstate's staff.

A regional center for cardiac care, neonatal and high-risk infant services, pediatric dialysis, and transplantation, Downstate also houses a major learning center for children with physical ailments or neurological disorders. In addition to UHB, Downstate comprises a College of Medicine, College of Nursing, School of Health Professions, a School of Graduate Studies, a School of Public Health, and a multifaceted biotechnology initiative, including the Downstate Biotechnology Incubator and BioBAT for early-stage and more mature companies, respectively. For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter at @sunydownstate.