Basil Rigas, MD, DSc

Basil Rigas, MD, DSc
Chief, Division of Cancer Prevention
William and Jane Knapp Professor of Pharmacology
Professor of Medicine
Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University


Dr. Rigas received his MD and DSc from the University of Athens (both with the highest distinction), and trained in medicine at Brown University, in Biochemistry at Brandeis University under WP Jencks, and in Gastroenterology at Yale University. He has pursued a career as a physician-scientist and prior to coming to Stony Brook University he held faculty positions at Cornell and Rockefeller Universities.

Dr. Rigas has spent the last two decades working on the mechanisms of carcinogenesis and cancer control with pharmacological agents. Highlights of his work:

  • Demonstration of the increased PGE2 levels in human colon cancer
  • First delineation of the cytokinetic effect of NSAIDs and eicosanoids in cancer
  • First description of the COX-independence of the anticancer effect of NSAIDs, a concept now expanded to many anticancer agents
  • Proposing and establishing that oxidative stress mediates the anticancer effect of modified NSAIDs
  • Discovering that annexin A1 is an endogenous regulator of NF-κB and designing novel annexin-based peptides with anticancer and other effects

In addition, Dr. Rigas

  • Invented a platform technology for the chemical modification of existing compounds generating new chemical entities with enhanced potency and safety
  • Studied extensively the nitric oxide-donating NSAIDs, including efficacy, PK/PD, metabolism, toxicology studies and conducted an FDA-approved, NIH-funded clinical trial
  • Obtained the first ever infrared spectra from cells and tissues and co-invented infrared microscopy
  • Co-invented the RecA-based method for screening DNA libraries; a commercially available kit based on this method was used extensively for two decades

Dr. Rigas’ clinical work is in gastroenterology. His clinical publications include the description of the circadian features of biliary pain and of amiodarone liver toxicity. He also wrote a widely-used textbook, Clinical Gastroenterology, which he co-authored with his Yale clinical mentor, Howard Spiro, which was translated into several languages. Under his leadership as Chief, the Division of Gastroenterology at Stony Brook University was completely reorganized and expanded (2006-2012) and was ranked 48th in the nation by US News and World Report for its excellence in patient care and clinical scholarship.

Since 2012, Dr. Rigas has occupied the William and Jane Knapp Chair of Pharmacological Sciences.

In 2013, Dr. Rigas received an honorary PhD from the University of Patras.

In addition to directing the Division of Cancer Prevention, Dr. Rigas serves our Medical School as VP for Business Development and Dean for Clinical Affairs.

Dr. Rigas with his co-author, Dr. Howard Spiro,
one of gastroenterology’s founding fathers

Dr. Rigas featured on IJOO

For a complete list of publication, Click Here.