SUNY Appoints Three Stony Brook Faculty to Distinguished Ranks

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The State University of New York Board of Trustees recently approved the appointments of three Stony Brook faculty to the Distinguished Faculty rank.

“Each member of the SUNY family appointed to a Distinguished Faculty rank has conveyed their own passion in their field of expertise with students, enriching the educational experience, accelerating research, and impacting lives within SUNY and beyond,” said SUNY Board Chairman H. Carl McCall. “We are proud to honor these individuals for being leaders in their fields, for mentoring students who will go on to contribute to our society, and for pushing the boundaries of research beyond our imaginations.”

Since the program’s inception in 1963, SUNY has appointed 1,101 faculty to the distinguished ranks, as follows, including these most recent appointments: 393 Distinguished Professorships; 321 Distinguished Service Professorships; 382 Distinguished Teaching Professorships; and 5 Distinguished Librarian Professorships. More information about SUNY’s faculty award program is available online.

The Distinguished Professorship is conferred upon individuals who have achieved national or international prominence and a distinguished reputation within a chosen field. This distinction is attained through significant contributions to the research literature or through artistic performance or achievement in the case of the arts. The candidate’s work must be of such character that the individual’s presence will tend to elevate the standards of scholarship of colleagues both within and beyond these persons’ academic fields. Stony Brook faculty receiving this rank are:

Prof. Ira Cohen

Prof. Ira S. Cohen

Professor Ira S. Cohen – Dr. Cohen, a member of the Department of Physiology and Biophysics, began his career at Stony Brook University 42 years ago. Acknowledged as one of the leading electrophysiologists in the world, Dr. Cohen has made seminal contributions to our understanding of the pacemaker and, more recently, began designing ‘biological pacemakers,’ which are cell-based vectors that normalize cardiac arrhythmias. He has published over 200 peer-reviewed articles and has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In recognition of his outstanding record of scholarly research, Dr. Cohen received a 10-year NIH Merit award. With 26 U.S. and international patents to his credit, Dr. Cohen consistently seeks to apply new technologies to important physiological and biophysical research questions. In 2016, Nature Biotechnology named Dr. Cohen one of the top 20 translational scientists in the world; that same year he was inducted into the National Academy of Inventors. Having trained an impressive number of scientists, many of whom have gone on to impactful careers as independent investigators, Dr. Cohen has an exceptional record of research, teaching, and mentoring.

Dr. Lina Obeid

Dr. Lina Obeid

Professor Lina M. Obeid – Dr. Obeid, a member of the Division of General Medicine and Vice Dean for Research at Stony Brook University, is a trail-blazing scientist whose work has focused on the study of bioactive lipids and their effects on the regulation of cell processes. She has explored in depth the biochemistry and cell biology of sphingolipids, including their biosynthesis and degradation, and investigates their role in cancer and aging. Her studies led to the critical discovery of the role of ceramide as a mediator/regulator of apoptosis (programmed cell death). Her research is of the highest standards and quality, and many of her contributions have become classics in the world of signaling and cell regulation. Dr. Obeid’s seminal manuscript that described those findings (in Science) has been cited more than 1,600 times. Her work has spanned the biological spectrum, ranging from employing yeast as a model system, to dissecting the basic biochemical pathways of lipid biosynthesis, to translating these insights to human cancer and aging. Moreover, throughout her career, Dr. Obeid has served as an outstanding mentor and role model for female students, trainees, and junior faculty. Her amazing enthusiasm for developing new knowledge in basic and clinical research has enabled her to make landmark primary scientific contributions. Dr. Obeid has also been an active physician, maintaining her clinical activities at the VA Hospital in Northport, New York, where she works with geriatrics patients.

Prof. Arthur Samuel

Prof. Arthur Samuel

Professor Arthur G. Samuel – Dr. Samuel, Chair and Professor of the Department of Psychology at Stony Brook University, has an outstanding record of teaching, mentoring, scholarly publications, and professional service. His research in the field of Cognitive Science, with a focus on how humans perceive spoken language, has led to a better understanding of the recognition and categorization of human speech, even when noise obscures individual signals. He has been continuously funded by federal grants since his first year as a faculty member. According to one external reviewer, his findings “critically inform the architecture of the speech-lexical processing system.” Dr. Samuel has also taken on major leadership roles within the University, nationally, and internationally. At Stony Brook, he has served as both the Director of Graduate Studies and Department Chair. Nationally, he has served on a half dozen Editorial Boards of major journals, and served as Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Memory and Language (#1 ISi ranking in Linguistics, and #3 ISi ranking in Experimental Psychology). Dr. Samuel also served as Chair of the Perception and Cognition study section at the National Institutes of Health. In recognition of his scientific expertise, he was invited to serve as Associate Director of the Basque Center on Cognition, Brain, and Language to help create a world-class institute in San Sebastian, Spain. Dr. Samuel is a leader in a substantial field in psycholinguistics, and has produced a wealth of empirical data and theoretical developments that have been a major component in the progression of the field.

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