02 | Fall 2016

President’s Letter

Samuel L. Stanley Jr., MD

Collaboration is indispensable to the mission of a great research university. Teamwork enables us to reach across boundaries in search of creative solutions to the problems of our time.

Samuel L. Stanley Jr., MD

Samuel L. Stanley Jr., MD

A good example of this is our role in the UN’s groundbreaking HeForShe initiative. As one of 10 University Impact Champions committed to leadership in support of gender equality, Stony Brook University works in collaboration with representatives of higher education, business, governments and the United Nations.

In addition, the contributions of the entire University community have been essential to planning and implementing the bold, game-changing action on which the success of HeForShe depends. Through outreach to all 64 SUNY campuses, we have the potential to impact the experiences of more than 459,000 students and almost 90,000 faculty and staff.

In a similar spirit, I invited all students, faculty and staff to participate in drafting our new Plan for Equity, Inclusion and Diversity. A steering committee, advisory council and several working groups representing all Stony Brook communities are now hard at work driving implementation of the Plan. Working together, we intend to make diversity a reality at every level of campus life. More information about our ambitious diversity goals appears on page 42 of this issue.

As a medical researcher specializing in infectious diseases, I know that collaboration is equally critical to the fight against emerging threats such as the Zika virus.

A 2014 study published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, titled “Global Rise in Human Infectious Disease Outbreaks,” harnessed the power of big data to track global changes in the frequency of outbreaks between 1980 and 2013. The results were clear: The numbers of outbreaks and types of disease are on the rise.

Threats like Zika will continue to arrive in unexpected ways and at unpredictable times. It’s the reality of a world drawn ever closer together and reflects changing weather patterns that are affecting the presence of insects and animals.

While chairing the National Science Advisory Board on Biosecurity, I have become convinced of the need for an expanded national infrastructure for infectious disease defense.

We urgently need to pull together resources from government, higher education, philanthropy and business to create a reliable system for responding rapidly to outbreaks. Meanwhile, as a nation we must invest more aggressively in the science of vaccine development, an endeavor to which collaboration among researchers is absolutely essential.

With its emphasis on translational research and interdisciplinary scholarship, Stony Brook is well positioned to be a worldwide leader in this area. Our commitment to breaking down silos empowers us to transform scientific discovery into clinical research while harnessing the power of big data to meet today’s most pressing challenges.

As you explore this second issue of the new Stony Brook Magazine, you will encounter some of the exciting fruits of our commitment to collaboration. At the legendary dig sites of Turkana Basin in northern Kenya, a longstanding relationship between the Leakey family and Stony Brook is fueling new discoveries about human origins. Closer to home, Stony Brook faculty are forging unprecedented connections between engineering and medical research that will shape the “Third Revolution in Medicine.” Meanwhile, hands-on undergraduate research is empowering our brightest young minds to join forces with world-renowned researchers.

If I may invoke the spirit of collaboration once more, I’d like to acknowledge the generous donors who are working with us to keep the University on its ambitious trajectory.

Your participation in the Campaign for Stony Brook gives our vibrant community the extra resources we need to promote social mobility, prepare tomorrow’s leaders, and relentlessly pursue the innovative research and ideas that will transform the world.

With your help, we can all look forward to a future that goes FAR BEYOND.

FAR BEYOND theme brightens campus buildings.
FAR BEYOND theme brightens campus buildings.