A Message from the Dean of the School of Medicine — Spring 2018

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Kenneth Kaushansky, MD

Kenneth Kaushansky, MD, MACP, Dean, School of Medicine

As a major biomedical research institution, Stony Brook Medicine is constantly exploring new technologies that allow a better understanding of the causes of, and potential cures for, human disease.

In this issue of Medicine Today, we report on an international team including Stony Brook researchers who have developed a new cell imaging technology that offers new insights into how cells operate and adapt to different physiological environments. The pioneering technique will benefit scientists who are investigating cancer and other diseases.

We also report on another team of researchers who are using deep learning techniques (artificial intelligence) to decipher recurring patterns within pathological specimens from 13 types of cancer, correlating these findings with clinical and genomic data to enable cancer specialists to generate insights into the causes of these cancer, and predictors for response to various treatment approaches.

Another international team of researchers, including those from Stony Brook Medicine, has developed a highly sensitive and specific non-invasive test as a biomarker for early detection of urothelial cancers — among the most common cancers encountered worldwide. The test identifies 11 different genetic errors in cells shed into urine to allow the early identification of a number of such cancers, potentially at a stage where more effective treatment can be employed.

Another research initiative at Stony Brook has the potential to lead to vaccines that will increase the speed at which broadly protective antibodies to infectious agents, such as HIV and influenza, are generated in the body. The research will employ computational models and analysis of high-throughput DNA sequence data, instead of classic statistical models that often ignore the underlying biology.

Other stories in this edition address the personal touches associated with cancer care, including the work of the Emily Powers Foundation. The foundation has contributed to patient advocacy at the Stony Brook University Cancer Center by providing funding for digital tablets for patients to use during chemotherapy treatments, support for events like “Pretty and Powerful,” and the purchase of a van to help bring patients in for treatment.

Another foundation, the Island Outreach Foundation, has provided a gift of $1 million to establish the Tick Borne Diseases Fund, in an effort to elevate Stony Brook University’s capacity to meet the challenges presented by tick-borne illnesses. Tick-borne infectious diseases have reached epidemic proportions on Long Island and are spreading elsewhere, and Stony Brook Medicine is leading efforts to understand and treat them.

Finally, we have an article on our upcoming annual Stethoscope Drive, which is quickly becoming one of the School of Medicine’s proudest traditions. Gifts to the annual drive will be accepted until July 15 by contacting Mary Hoffmann at (631) 632-4995 or mary.hoffmann@stonybrook.edu.

You can help us deliver more of “the best ideas in medicine” through The Campaign for Stony Brook, which ends on June 30. Funds raised through this campaign support powerful new initiatives across the University, including the Medical and Research Translation (MART) building, which will house the expanded Stony Brook University Cancer Center, and the new 150-bed Hospital Pavilion, home of Stony Brook Children’s Hospital.

There’s still time to join more than 47,000 fellow donors and be part of SUNY and Stony Brook history. Visit www.stonybrook.edu/campaign to learn more.

Cheers,

Kenneth Kaushansky, MD
Senior Vice President, Health Sciences
Dean, School of Medicine
Stony Brook Medicine

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