Nobel Prize Laureate Dr. Peter Agre Encouraged Students in “a calling larger than ourselves”
STONY BROOK, N.Y., May 31, 2011 – At Stony Brook University School of Medicine’s 37th Convocation, 118 graduates celebrated
|Keynote speaker Peter Agre, M.D., 2003 Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry, encouraged the Stony Brook University School of Medicine graduates to recognize the tremendous service they provide in helping to save lives. In front, to Dr. Agre’s left, are: Steven L. Strongwater, M.D., CEO, Stony Brook University Hospital; and Kenneth Kaushansky, M.D., MACP, Senior Vice President of the Health Sciences and Dean of the School of Medicine.|
as they received their M.D. degrees and took the Hippocratic Oath for the first time as physicians. Collectively, the new physicians will begin their residency training this summer at a variety of healthcare institutions around the country, including in New York and 17 other states. During the May 24 ceremony, family members and friends cheered enthusiastically for the graduates in a packed Staller Center on Stony Brook University’s West Campus.
“Our Class of 2011 should be proud of their accomplishment, move forward confidently, and prepare for the many challenges ahead in a field that has an impact on so many people in good ways,” said Kenneth Kaushansky, M.D., MACP, Senior Vice President of the Health Sciences and Dean of the School of Medicine. In light the current era of molecular medicine, with new and more effective treatments for many diseases emerging, Dr. Kaushansky told the graduates that “medicine has a bright future” and they are entering a profession at a dynamic time.
Keynote speaker Peter Agre, M.D., University Professor and Director, Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute, Bloomberg School of Public Health, and winner of the 2003 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, referred to medicine as “a calling larger than ourselves.” Dr. Agre encouraged students in this calling to be patient-centered, recognize the tremendous service they provide in caring for people and helping to save lives, and to not be discouraged with failure.
“It is possible to fail many times in life before true success, and I know from personal experience,” emphasized Dr. Agre.
|118 Stony Brook University School of Medicine graduates received their M.D. degrees on May 24 at Stony Brook University. They will begin residency training this summer at healthcare institutions in New York and 17 other states nationwide.|
One of Dr Agre’s successes in life was beyond his wildest dreams upon graduating from Johns Hopkins Medical School in 1974. In 2003, Dr. Agre and Roderick MacKinnon, a Rockefeller University scientist, won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. The award was for Dr. Agre’s laboratory discovery in 1991 of the “channels” that regulate and facilitate water molecule transport through cell membranes, a process essential to all living organisms.
The finding of water channel proteins has ushered in a golden age of biochemical, physiological and genetic studies of these proteins in bacteria, plants and mammals. Additionally, the discovery has helped scientists understand, at the molecular level, that aquaporins are responsible for numerous physiological processes, as well as clinical disorders, such as diseases of the kidney and skeletal muscles.
Hoping for many future successes for the entire Class of 2011, Kristen Aliano, M.D., chosen by her fellow classmates to deliver the Student Address, said that entering medicine is an “honor and a privilege.” Dr. Aliano, who will begin her residency in General Surgery at Stony Brook University Medical Center, thanked the School of Medicine faculty and family members on behalf of her classmates for their encouragement throughout medical school. She also reminded fellow graduates that they will soon take part in a unique field in which they are “privy to the most joyful and tearful times of patients’ lives, when life-changing events are experienced.”
This summer Dr. Aliano and her fellow graduates will embark on their journeys as physicians – in many specialties, such as Emergency Medicine, Surgery, Anesthesiology, Pediatrics, and Neurology. Approximately 60 percent of the new crop of physicians graduating from Stony Brook will practice within New York State, including at Stony Brook University Medical Center.
Other graduates will begin residences at different types of institutions around the country. These include Ivy League-affiliated institutions such as Yale-New Haven Hospital and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center; large hospitals and academic medical centers, such as the Cleveland Clinic, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, University of California at San Francisco, and Boston University Medical Center; as well as the Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth, Va., and the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md.
Established in 1971, the Stony Brook University School of Medicine graduates 100 or more fourth year medical students each year. Total school enrollment is nearly 500. The mission of the School is to educate caring and skilled physicians well-prepared to enter graduate and specialty training programs.