Patricia Thompson, PhD, Named Vice Dean of Research

Dear Colleagues,

It gives me great pleasure to announce that Dr. Patricia Thompson will serve as our new Vice Dean for Research. Patty is a Professor of Pathology, and the Deputy Director of the Stony Brook University Cancer Center and will take on this new role with great devotion and skill.

As you recall, with the passing of our dear friend Lina Obeid, the role of Vice Dean for Research was left vacant. Over the past few months, notwithstanding the visit of our friend SARS-CoV2, I asked all the Department Chairs in the School for nominations of faculty members who might well serve the Renaissance School of Medicine as our new Dean for Research, and received 13 nominations. I interviewed all 13 faculty members, reconfirming my strong belief that we have some amazing scientists and thinkers in the school. At the end of the process, I felt that Patty was the ideal candidate, and she agreed to serve in the role.

Patty received her PhD in Immunology and Microbiology at UT Health Sciences Center at San Antonio, and performed post-doctoral fellowships in Virology and Immunology at UTSA, and in Molecular Epidemiology at the National Center for Toxicology Research. Patty then launched her academic career, being appointed Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology, Division of Cancer Prevention, at MD Anderson Cancer Center. From MD Anderson, Patty was recruited to the University of Arizona, where she rose through the academic ranks to become Professor in the UA School of Medicine Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, and Program Leader of their Cancer Prevention and Control Program in the UA Cancer Center. Six years ago, we recruited Patty to Stony Brook, where she was appointed Professor in the Department of Pathology, and four years ago, as Deputy Director of the Stony Brook Cancer Center.

Patty’s research interests lie in the biology of breast cancer and its clinical translation to patients with the disease or at high risk for it. Over her career Patty has led or participated in over 20 funded grants, mostly from the NIH/NCI, including a current R01 award to study the effects of sulindac on breast density in patients with elevated breast cancer risk. She is the quintessential scientific collaborator, counting 14 active collaborations with RSOM faculty members, 20 while she was on faculty at the University of Arizona, as well as 30 national and international collaborators over her career. Based on these grants, collaborations and a lot of initiative, Patty has contributed to over 160 peer-reviewed scholarly publications, many/most as senior of lead author. And while Patty’s major scientific mark has been on cancer, she is a keen student of all of the biomedical sciences. In fact, this was one of the factors that convinced me that Patty is the right person to serve as Dean of Research in a school with several major foci of strategic importance, and much research excellence.

Patty has also played an important teaching role during her career, mentoring 20 MD, PhD and MS students at the University of Arizona and at Stony Brook, has taught too-numerous-to-count courses over her career, and has been extremely generous with her time, serving on numerous Cancer Center Boards, NIH study sections and as a reviewer and editorial board member of numerous peer-reviewed journals.

When asked of her goals for the position, Patty responded that her office, along with others in the RSOM and SBU campus leaders, will focus immediately on ensuring everyone’s safe and full return to research operations. In parallel, Patty will work with the leadership and individual researchers to evaluate the research infrastructure, available resources and critical needs for the research community. An immediate goal will be to evaluate research priorities within the school and to develop a modification of the strategic research plan that takes into account SARS-CoV2/COVID-19 research and that integrates the impacts of the pandemic on overall research funding and operations. On the extraordinary integration we have witnessed of cross-institutional collaboration triggered by the COVID-19 crisis over the past long weeks, a major priority for Patty will be to employ these experiences to shape a shared, long-term vision for RSOM research and assure that it’s supported by efficient and exceptional research infrastructure.

It is also my great pleasure to announce that we have created an Endowed Chair, to be held by the Vice Dean for Research, and have named Patty as the inaugural holder of the Lina Obeid Chair in Biomedical Research at the Renaissance School of Medicine. As you know, Lina was a spectacular biomedical scientist and mentor, much like Patty, which makes this appointment all the more appropriate.

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Patricia Thompson as Vice Dean for Research and the Lina Obeid Chair in Biomedical Research at the Renaissance School of Medicine.

 

Kenneth Kaushansky, MD, MACP
Senior Vice President, Health Sciences
Dean, Renaissance School of Medicine
SUNY Distinguished Professor
Stony Brook University