Emeritus Faculty Association news February 2015
Friday February 6th, 10.30am Javits Room, 2nd floor library.
Sacha Kopp was appointed this past June as the new Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. He will talk on his plans for that college.
Bio: Dr. Kopp completed his BS, MS, and PhD at the University of Chicago and specializes in the physics of elementary particles. His work included study of the particle responsible for the weak nuclear force and participation in an experiment that discovered the top quark. As a postdoctoral scholar he played a lead role in the design and construction of an instrument installed at the Cornell accelerator used by 20 universities and 400 scientists to study the properties of bottom and charm quarks. He later contributed to the construction of a particle beam facility used to definitively demonstrate that the elementary particle known as the neutrino has mass and contributes to the gravitational matter in the universe. He has authored over 200 scholarly articles. Dr. Kopp has been on the faculty at the University of Texas at Austin since 2000. He has served as the Associate Chair for the Department of Physics and subsequently as Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education of the College of Natural Sciences.
We are somewhat embarrassed to note that member Carl Moos passed away on Xmas day a year ago without a mention here (or on the university or other local news). Apparently he was living up in Northampton (Mass) and this escaped attention here, being Xmas as well. Which is a shame because he was a distinguished and interesting man. A very good obituary appears here: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/gazettenet/obituary.aspx?pid=170727592
Vice Dean and Cancer Cancer Director Yusuf Hannun spoke on his vision for the new center.
Dr Hannun started by reviewing his scholarly career. It is clear that this will continue to be active, notwithstanding his administrative responsibilities. New SBU colleagues will be joining with a number of transfers from his SC lipid group of 25 students and 5 faculty (including his wife Lina Abeid, also an accomplished researcher). Lipids are fatty molecules that play pivotal roles in cell membrane function and regulatory mechanisms. Of these, the sphingolipids are a subclass in which fatty acids are linked via amide bonds to a long-chain base or sphingoid. The root term "sphingo-" was first coined by Thudichum in 1884 because the enigmatic nature of the molecules reminded him of the riddle of the sphinx. Hannun and colleagues discovered the signaling functions of these lipids and the vital roles they play in the cancer disease process and therapy, as well as in other areas of biomedicine such as metabolism and neurobiology (including the neuro-degeneration leading to the Parkinson and Altzheimer syndromes).
Of his plans for the new center, a primary push will be to obtain the stature of National Cancer Institute (NCI) designation, something Dr. Hannun achieved in his former position as Deputy Director of the Hollings Cancer Center in South Carolina. At the moment this group comprises 66 institutions nationally but only one on LI (Cold Spring Harbor as a research only center).
The Cancer Center will be orientated to facilitate the transitions from cancer biology research, to clinical research, to oncology practice. These transitions will take about 5 years. More particularly 5 areas will be emphasized:
(1): Drug discovery - working primarily with SBU chemistry and biology researchers;
(2): Genomic sequencing, in conjunction with the NY Genomics Center, of which SB is a founding member;
(3): Informatic analysis, in conjunction with researchers from the pure and applied math, physics, computer science, and bio-informatics departments;
(4): Imaging in conjunction with Computer Science and BNL;
(5): Metabolomics and lipidomics of tumor origins and growth;
In these efforts the center will have the flexibility that it is not a department, but can help researchers from existing departments come together to make progress on topics of an interdisciplinary nature. It will also be working closely with new groups such as the new bio-infomatics department led by founding chair Joel Saltz, who will also be Associate Director of the Cancer Center and in the same building. Dr. Saltz's research has worked to apply novel informatics methods and tools to support quantitative analysis, annotation and clinical correlation with pathological imaging. Another new hire is Samuel Ryu, an internationally recognized specialist in radiosurgery, who will chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology, be Deputy Director for Clinical Affairs at the Cancer Center, and treat central nervous system tumors. The Cancer Center will also be working with other interdisciplinary groups such as the Institute for Chemical Biology, the Centers for Molecular Medicine (CMM), the Laufer Center for Physical and Quantitative Biology, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and Brookhaven National Laboratory. The latter in particular is a pioneer and leader in positron emission tomography (PET), a functional imaging technique that has proven to be the most sensitive test currently available for detecting the recurrence of some cancers particularly prostate. The system detects pairs of gamma rays emitted indirectly by a positron-emitting radionuclide (tracer), which is introduced into the body on a biologically active molecule. Three-dimensional images of tracer concentration within the body can then be reconstructed by computer analysis. Among the different PET tracers that have been specifically evaluated for lipid metabolism imaging is carbon-11-acetate. The beta plus decay of carbon-11 to boron-11, emits a positron and a neutrino, but the carbon-11 has a half life on only 20 minutes. Thus the carbon-11-acetate must be prepared in a cyclotron and then quickly injected into the bloodstream while it is still viable.
This brings us to the plans for the new building which will be the new home for the Cancer Center and the Bio-informatics department. It will include Long Island's first Cyclotron particle accelerator and a PET-MRI which will also be the only one on Long Island. The Medical and Research Translation (MART) building recently topped out in a ceremony on December 1st and will be directly connected to the hospital. Funded in part by through a $35 million NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant and a $150 million gift from Jim and Marilyn Simons, this eight-level, 250,000-square-foot building will be devoted to imaging, neurosciences, and cancer research. It will have 25 cancer biology-oriented laboratories, a 30-room cancer clinic, a a 30-station clinical infusion center, a 300-seat auditorium, and new classrooms for students. Its new Molecular Imaging Laboratory will enable SB physicians and researchers to diagnose and monitor disease at the molecular level and develop new targeted treatments for cancer, neurological disorders, and other diseases.
On Viewing The News Through Age Tinted Spectacles
The United Nations Climate Change Conferences are yearly conferences held in the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). They serve as the formal meeting of the UNFCCC Conferences of the Parties (COP). The COPS conferences have now been going on for 20 years, the most recent being that in Lima this December. Demonstrators at this conference have been forbidden to mention the words KEYSTONE pipeline.
It must have been young guys (and girls) made up these names right? Our members of a certain age perhaps will not be able to avoid recalling that the KEYSTONE COPS were fictional incompetent policemen featured in silent film comedies produced by Mack Sennett for his Keystone Film Company between 1912 and 1917. Young guys hope COPs will improve after 20 years. Whereas old guys are hoping for a changed image after 100 years.