Retirement of Dr. Jorge Benach, Distinguished University Professor

Dr. Jorge Benach, Distinguished University Professor retired from his position as Chairman of the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology on December 31, 2015. Prior to becoming the inaugural chair of his own department, Dr. Benach was a member of the Department of Pathology and he has maintained a secondary appointment in our department since that time. Over the course of his career, Dr. Benach has made an indelible mark on science, including his identification of the etiologic agent of Lyme disease. This discovery drew national and international attention as well as major research funding to Stony Brook. His work following the discovery of the agent over the past 32 years attest to his continued productivity and has resulted in over 200 scholarly publications.

At the national advisory level, Dr. Benach was selected by the US Secretary of Health and Human Services to serve in the Advisory Council of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and thereafter to serve in the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) panel to evaluate the Research Program Outcomes of the National Institutes of Health. He also served in the NIAID Blue Ribbon Panel on Microbial Genomics and on the Blue Ribbon Panel on Bioterrorism.

For his work, Dr. Benach received many honors and accolades, including his election as fellow of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the American Academy of Microbiology and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He served in the Bacteriology and Mycology I NIH study section, and just recently completed service as Chair of the Host interaction with Bacterial Pathogens NIH review panel. He has been the recipient of an NIH-MERIT award, a Fulbright Research fellowship, in addition to his 30-year uninterrupted history of research funding.

The Center for Infectious Diseases, under Jorge's leadership, obtained a competitive, multi-million dollar program project on biodefense providing Stony Brook with a major role in this national agenda. Altogether, he has brought $50 million in grant funding to the University over the course of his career. The School of Medicine has conferred on Dr. Benach the honor of a Toll Professorship and in the new role, he will continue to engage in groundbreaking research, supported by his NIH research grant.