2011 Einstein Convocation Honors Faculty and Philanthropists
On Monday, September 26, 2011, distinguished faculty and philanthropic supporters were celebrated at an Academic Convocation and Investiture at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. More than 250 guests and members of the Einstein community filled Robbins Auditorium for the biennial event, where Dr. Allen M. Spiegel, the Marilyn and Stanley M. Katz Dean, noted, "Faculty are the heart and soul of Einstein, whether they're teaching in the medical or graduate school, mentoring junior colleagues, performing research, teaming with our clinical partner, Montefiore Medical Center or all of the above."
The ceremonyIn his remarks, Dr. Spiegel also paid tribute to those whose generosity and commitment to advancing the mission of the medical school help make the work of our faculty possible. "Whether they are here in person, or in many cases memorialized, it is the generosity and support of our donors that assure our faculty is able to do the important work that it does."
During the ceremony, 17 faculty members were invested as named chairs or scholars or installed as directors of critical programs, supported by significant investments from Einstein donors. Some of these supporters were present, and joined Dean Spiegel and Yeshiva University President Richard M. Joel at the podium as they formally invested the faculty honorees. Dr. Edward R. Burns, M.D., Einstein's executive dean, served as grand marshal.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Dr. Spiegel announced an extraordinary bequest by Dr. George J. Fruhman, an Einstein faculty member for more than 50 years who passed away this past July. This much-beloved Einstein professor of anatomy and structural biology, who won a Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2009, lived blocks away from campus. "Einstein was Dr. Fruhman's home away from home," said Dr. Spiegel. "His legacy will take the form of fully endowed scholarships for medical students, directed to the very best applicants, as he believed these top students belonged at Einstein, where there is a culture not only of academic excellence, but of true humanism and compassion."
Following the convocation ceremony, those in attendance adjourned to a reception held under a tent in the courtyard between the Forchheimer and Mazer buildings. The newly invested faculty members mingled with the donors whose generosity supports their work at Einstein, along with guests and members of the Einstein community.
Awards honoring philanthropyAs both a former faculty member and chair of Einstein's Board of Overseers, Dr. Ruth L. Gottesman had a unique perspective on the day's event, noting, "Events like today highlight both our generous and farsighted donors and the recipients of their largesse, Einstein faculty involved in medical education and research - and they really deserve to be celebrated."
She continued, "The remarkable bequest by one of our own faculty members, the late Dr. George Fruhman, exemplifies the devotion of our faculty to Einstein. Dr. Fruhman spent a lifetime here and now he becomes part of Einstein forever, like so many other supporters who have created endowed funds at Einstein, or helped us build buildings. Our support will live on, and outlive us.
"I want to express my appreciation, and that of the Board of Overseers, to all our donors and their families. And I want to congratulate all of our faculty members who were honored at Convocation today."
Dr. Solomon Moshé was among the honorees, heralded for his work in the field of epilepsy research. He was invested as the Charles Frost Chair in Neurosurgery and Neurology, with the late Charles Frost's daughter, Judith Frost Levine, in attendance. "We have an amazing program, with about 20 faculty members, and I'm grateful to the Frosts for the support they have provided for our work," said Dr. Moshé.
In addition to Dr. Gottesman and the Frost family, other donors cited for their vital philanthropy included the Lowe family; Max and Jean Berger; Muriel and Harold Block; Louis and Gertrude Feil; the Safra family (represented by Heather Nesle of the Edmond J. Safra/Republic National Bank of New York); the Blume family; the DeJur family; the Levitt family; Yolaine G. Randall; Charles Michael; and the Atran Foundation.
During the convocation ceremony, 11 faculty members who recently received tenure were also recognized. They are Drs. Julia Arnsten, Pablo Castillo, Ana Maria Cuervo, Ales Cvekl, Paul Frenette, Meredith Hawkins, Charles Query, and Howard Strickler.
The 17 Einstein faculty members honored were:
- Nir Barzilai, M.D., was installed as director of the Nathan Shock Center of Excellence in the Basic Biology of Aging. Internationally renowned in the field of human aging, Dr. Barzilai is the principal investigator in a pioneering longitudinal clinical study that aims to identify the genetic links to exceptional aging.
- Ales Cvekl, Ph.D., was invested as The Max Berger Chair in Ophthalmology. Dr. Cvekl's research focuses on genetic and epigenetic regulatory mechanisms in mammalian eye development and disease, with the goal of advancing our understanding of embryonic lens development and the molecular basis of congenital and age-onset cataracts.
- Ellise Delphin, M.D., M.P.H., was invested as Unified Chair of the Department of Anesthesiology at Einstein and Montefiore Medical Center, where she plans to assemble the highest-caliber team of anesthesiology specialists in pediatrics, cardiology, cancer and pain, and to develop vibrant residency and research programs. She also aims to establish a regional Pain Service at Montefiore, serving both patients suffering acute pain in the hospital and those needing chronic care in outpatient settings.
- Carol Ann Derby, Ph.D., was invested as the Louis and Gertrude Feil Faculty Scholar in Neurology. Initially an investigator on the Bronx Aging Study at Einstein from 1988 to 1992, Dr. Derby returned to Einstein in 2002, conducting important studies on the prevention of cardiovascular disease, heart disease in women, and the relation of cardiovascular disease to cognitive decline and dementia. She also directs the undergraduate medical school course at Einstein on clinical research methods and mentors students in the Clinical Research Training master's degree program.
- Nikolaos Frangogiannis, M.D., was invested as the Edmond J. Safra/Republic National Bank of New York Chair in Cardiovascular Medicine. An expert in cardiac repair and remodeling, Dr. Frangogiannis focuses on the mechanisms of cardiac healing after injury, with the goal of preventing the development of heart failure and improving the quality of cardiac repair. Recent findings by Dr. Frangogiannis and colleagues may offer the potential basis for an effective therapy to prevent enlargement of the heart following heart attack, protecting against the development of heart failure.
- Paul Frenette, M.D., was invested as chair and director of The Ruth L. and David S. Gottesman Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Research. A leading stem cell and vascular biology researcher, Dr. Frenette leads his own laboratory, which focuses on stem cell biology, vascular biology and inflammation. His groundbreaking work in blood stem cell trafficking led to the recognition of a connection between the brain and bone marrow; his laboratory has shown that the release of hematopoietic stem cells in the blood follows circadian rhythms, which may impact stem cell therapy used with cancer patients recovering from high doses of chemotherapy.
- Mario Garcia, M.D., was invested as the Pauline A. Levitt Chair in Medicine. He brings his vast expertise in cardiac imaging to the Bronx and, throughout his career, he has played a major role in advancing our ability to image cardiovascular system and in educating cardiologists about cardiovascular diagnostics. In addition to his roles as scientific investigator and educator at Einstein, Dr. Garcia is a clinician serving the diverse patient population at Montefiore Medical Center.
- Harris Goldstein, M.D., was invested as the inaugural holder of the Charles Michael Chair in Autoimmune Diseases. A leading investigator in the field of AIDS/HIV research, Dr. Goldstein uses genetic engineering to bolster the immune system's ability to ward off HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. His research team also is exploring turning off the immune system, as a way of treating autoimmune diseases. Dr. Goldstein reestablished the NIH-funded Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) at Einstein in 2002, and was appointed its director. CFAR unites Einstein and Montefiore basic researchers, clinical investigators and epidemiologists as they work to develop new approaches for treating and preventing HIV infection. Dr. Goldstein also leads the immunology unit for first-year medical students at Einstein, teaching how the immune system works—and in some cases, how it malfunctions.
- Barrett Katz, M.D., M.B.A., was invested as the Frances De Jur Chair in Ophthalmology. Dr. Katz brings experience in academic medicine and industry to his role as director of clinical trials in the Einstein-Montefiore Institute for Clinical and Translational Research. The office of clinical trials supports clinical research efforts at both campuses with the aim of bringing scientific advances more rapidly to the patient care setting.
- Richard B. Lipton, M.D., was invested as the Edwin S. Lowe Chair in Neurology. Over more than 30 years at Einstein, he has combined a variety of clinical and administrative roles with his passion for research and education. His research focuses on population studies of the aging brain and Alzheimer's disease, as well as headache and pain disorders. He combines population studies of genetic and environmental risk factors with translational programs that include measurement research, biomarkers, neuroimaging, clinical trials and guidelines development. He also leads the Einstein Aging Study, a community-based research project that for more than 25 years, has tracked a racially diverse group of nearly 2,000 Bronx residents over age 70, to assess the risk of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of memory loss or dementia.
- Felise Milan, M.D., was invested as director of the Ruth L. Gottesman Clinical Skills Center. A 1988 alumna of Einstein, Dr. Milan is director of the Clinical Skills Assessment and Introduction to Clinical Medicine programs and chair of the clinical skills assessment committee. She also helped plan the Gottesman Clinical Skills Center. As an educator, Dr. Milan creates experiences for students and residents to maximize their effectiveness in professional communication. She originated a new model for giving feedback in the clinical setting, established a clinical skills assessment review and remediation program at Einstein, and developed a communications skills checklist that is used at Einstein and disseminated to other medical schools.
- Sophie Molholm, Ph.D., was invested as the Muriel and Harold Block Faculty Scholar in Mental Illness. Using non-invasive recordings of the brain's electrical activity to characterize brain function, Dr. Molholm focuses on understanding the neurobiology of developmental disorders, including autism spectrum disorders and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. She also aims to determine when and where during brain processing these processes break down in developmental disorders, and how this relates to specific phenotypes. In addition to her research, Dr. Molholm directs the Human Clinical Phenotyping Core of the Rose F. Kennedy Intellectual and Developmental Disability Research Center at Einstein, working closely with the Children's Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center to maintain a registry of children with and without developmental disorders who can participate in Einstein research studies.
- Solomon L. Moshé, M.D., was invested as the Charles Frost Chair in Neurosurgery and Neurology. A pioneer in the field of epilepsy research, Dr. Moshé has investigated the mechanisms underlying age- and sex-related differences in epilepsy since 1979. He was the first to describe the kindling model for developmental epilepsy, a breakthrough in the field. His research team has developed and patented a novel model of human infantile spasms that can be used to identify effective treatments for the disease. In addition to laboratory research, he is involved in several multicenter studies examining the consequences of prolonged febrile seizures and absence epilepsy. Under his leadership, Einstein has developed what may be the premier pediatric epilepsy program in the United States, with many trainees currently in leading positions in the United States and abroad. Dr. Moshé also is the current president of the International League Against Epilepsy.
- Deepa Rastogi, M.B., B.S., was invested as the Joseph S. Blume Faculty Scholar in Pediatric Development. Dr. Rastogi investigates the biological mechanisms associated with the development of asthma among urban minority children, as well as the mechanisms that may explain the increased severity of asthma in obese children, with the ultimate goal of implementing timely preventative strategies and targeted therapies for this vulnerable population. She also is researching socioeconomic and environmental reasons for the higher frequency of emergency room visits and hospitalizations among these children, particularly in association with healthcare delivery systems. She is director of the Pediatric Asthma Center at the Children's Hospital at Montefiore and received post-graduate training through Einstein's Institute of Clinical and Translational Research.
- Thomas Edward Rohan, M.D., Ph.D., was invested as the Atran Foundation Chair in Social Medicine. A noted cancer epidemiologist whose research focuses on the roles of molecular, nutritional, and hormonal factors in the etiology and pathogenesis of cancer, Dr. Rohan seeks to identify opportunities for intervention to reduce cancer risk and mortality. He has been instrumental in the development of the department of epidemiology & population health, and serves in leadership capacities at the Albert Einstein Cancer Center, including associate director of population sciences; program leader of the Cancer Epidemiology Program and faculty director of epidemiology informatics core facility.
- James Scheuer, M.D., was invested as Distinguished Professor of Medicine Emeritus. A member of the Einstein faculty since 1972, Dr. Scheuer served as chief of cardiology at Montefiore, as unified chair of medicine at Einstein and Montefiore, and as professor of physiology and biophysics at Einstein. His laboratory was the first to demonstrate the beneficial effects of regular exercise on heart muscle function and one of the earliest to show the harmful effects of diabetes, renal insufficiency and aging on the heart. He also was deeply involved in teaching, administration and patient care, and was actively involved in national and international academic activities. He was instrumental in the unification of the departments of medicine at Einstein and Montefiore, and spearheaded the modernization of the cardiology division at Montefiore. With Drs. Edmund Sonnenblick and Leslie Leinwand, he also established one of the first molecular cardiology programs in the nation. A role model of academic excellence, dedication and integrity, he has mentored hundreds of young physicians, junior faculty, residents and cardiology fellows.
- Joe Verghese, M.B., B.S., was invested as the first Murray D. Gross Memorial Faculty Scholar in Gerontology. A board-certified, practicing neurologist, Dr. Verghese is interested in aging and its effects on the brain. He is clinical director of the NIH-funded Einstein Aging Study and also has partnered with Nir Barzilai, M.D., in a groundbreaking study of genes that promote longevity, and on behavioral studies with colleagues at Yeshiva's Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology. A graduate of Einstein's Clinical Research Training Program, he plays a leadership role in training young investigators in translational research.
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