Renowned Molecular Biologist Named Director of Stony Brook Cancer Center
Dr. Yusuf Hannun to Broaden Research, Clinical and Teaching Missions of Suffolk County’s Cancer Care Leader
STONY BROOK, N.Y., March 1, 2012 – Yusuf A. Hannun, M.D., a renowned molecular biologist and physician-scientist investigating the molecular mechanisms of cancer, has been appointed Director of the Stony Brook Cancer Center, the Joel Kenny Professor of Medicine, and Vice Dean for Cancer Medicine, effective March 1, 2012, announced Kenneth Kaushansky, M.D., M.A.C.P., Senior Vice President for the Health Sciences, and Dean, School of Medicine. Dr. Hannun comes to Stony Brook from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). His decade of leadership as Deputy Director of MUSC’s Hollings Cancer Center led to its emergence as a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Cancer Center in 2009.
As Director of the Stony Brook Cancer Center, Dr. Hannun will oversee a program that includes 12 site-specific, multidisciplinary disease management teams that are dedicated to diagnosing and treating patients with breast, colorectal, gastrointestinal, hematological, pediatric cancers, and all other types of cancers. He will also oversee research programs conducted within the School of Medicine that support the disease management teams.
Dr. Kaushansky said that the recruitment of Dr. Hannun is key to the Stony Brook Cancer Center achieving NCI Cancer Center designation.
“Dr. Hannun was selected from an incredible field of applicants from around the nation to lead the Stony Brook Cancer Center,” says Dr. Kaushansky. “We are thrilled he chose Stony Brook. With his leadership, the Center’s clinical, research, and educational missions will be brought to new heights. Dr. Hannun brought a remarkable transformation to the cancer center at MUSC by spearheading the growth of cancer research and bridging new findings with clinical care.”
Dr. Hannun’s arrival to Stony Brook is in conjunction with another essential component that will elevate research at the Stony Brook Cancer Center – the University’s plan to build a state-of-the-art Medical and Research Translation (MART) Building. The creation of the MART on the Stony Brook Medicine campus will be funded by the Simons Gift and SUNY 2020 Challenge Grant application. Work in the MART will focus, in part, on cancer research, advanced imaging, and new technologies to advance cancer care.
The outpatient facility of the Stony Brook Cancer Center will be relocated to the MART upon building completion. Plans are for the MART to house a 30-room cancer clinic, a 30-station infusion center, and 25 cancer biology-oriented labs.
Dr. Hannun said that Stony Brook is poised to achieve the highest excellence in cancer research and cancer medicine with its existing clinical expertise and the research programs. These involve the cancer clinical and research work of School of Medicine faculty, the University’s basic researchers, and the institution’s collaborative work with the nationally recognized research institutes of Brookhaven National Laboratory and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
“Research is a vital tool to understanding the scientific underpinnings of cancer,” says Dr. Hannun. “When scientists better understand and define cancer biology and mechanisms of disease, we can create more effective and targeted treatments and prevention for specific cancers. At Stony Brook, we will broaden our entire spectrum of cancer research, from basic investigation to work that translates directly to the prospect of new medicines.
“The potential to create a cancer center that is world-class and can impact so many lives for the better is of huge value,” Dr. Hannun emphasizes. “The clinical, research and community outreach activities already in place at the Stony Brook Cancer Center is like an engine ready to take off. I am excited to lead the charge to bring together physician investigators, trainees, medical students, and staff who are committed to making significant inroads and advances in understanding, treating, and preventing cancer.”
Dr. Hannun will conduct his own research and collaborate with University faculty involved with cancer research. Supported by five National Institutes of Health grants totaling $1.7 million, he will continue his research involving lipid mediators of cancer cell signaling. Much of this research involves the investigation of physiological and pathological roles played by a class of lipids known as the sphingolids. Dr. Hannun and colleagues discovered the signaling functions of these lipids and the vital roles they play in the cancer disease process, and cancer therapy, as well as in other areas of biomedicine such as neurobiology, inflammation, and metabolism.
Dr. Hannun earned his M.D. degree with distinction in 1981 from the American University in Beirut, Lebanon. At American University he completed an internship and residency in Internal Medicine. In 1986, he immigrated to the United States to serve a fellowship in Hematology and Oncology at Duke University. At Duke he rose to become the Wayne Rundles Professor of Oncology, the Director of the Program in Molecular Medicine, and Associate Director of the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center.
About Stony Brook Cancer Center:
Stony Brook Cancer Center is Suffolk County’s cancer care leader and a leader in education and research. With more than 20,000 inpatient and outpatient cancer visits annually, the Cancer Center includes 12 Multidisciplinary Teams: Breast Cancer; Colorectal Cancer; Gynecologic Oncology; Head, Neck and Thyroid Oncology; Hematologic Malignancy and Stem Cell Transplantation; Lung Cancer, Melanoma; Neurologic Oncology; Pediatric Hematology/Oncology; Sarcoma; Stem Cell Transplantation and Hematologic Malignancy; Upper Gastrointestinal Oncology; and Urologic Oncology. The cancer program is accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer as a Teaching Hospital Cancer Program and received the Commission’s Outstanding Achievement Award. The Carol M. Baldwin Breast Care Center is the first center in NY State to be accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers. Stony Brook’s Department of Radiation Oncology is accredited by the American College of Radiology and the American Society for Radiation Oncology. To learn more, visit www.cancer.stonybrookmedicine.edu.