Yusuf A. Hannun, MD, an internationally renowned cancer researcher and Director of the Stony Brook University Cancer Center, was formally installed as the Joel Strum Kenny Professor in Cancer Research during a Stony Brook University Investiture Ceremony. The ceremony also recognized Stony Brook University Past President Shirley Strum Kenny and her husband, Robert W. Kenny, as the endowed professorship honors the legacy of their son, Joel Strum Kenny, a scholar, educator and rabbi, who lost his battle against leukemia.
“I am delighted to invest Dr. Yusuf Hannun as the Joel Strum Kenny Professor in Cancer Research,” said Samuel L. Stanley Jr. MD, Stony Brook University President. “Dr. Hannun has made a huge mark on medicine as a researcher and educator and truly epitomizes the standard for an endowed professor. He has contributed to more than 500 scholarly publications with a remarkable impact factor, as 110 of his papers have been cited at least 110 times worldwide.”
Endowed faculty positions are a hallmark of leading universities, the highest academic honor for faculty, and a lasting tribute to the donors who establish them. Dr. Hannun becomes the eighth officially invested member of Stony Brook’s endowed faculty.
The Kenny Professorship, established in 2001, enables the University to recognize a world-class scholar and educator in the Department of Medicine. Holders of the Kenny Professorship are investigators in the field of cancer genetics, a burgeoning field essential to unlocking the mysteries of many forms of cancer. Future cancer research at Stony Brook underwritten by the Kenny Professorship will involve the most promising avenues of investigation in the search for the prevention of cancer and groundbreaking treatments.
“Dr. Yusuf Hannun brings a world of experience and insight as the Joel Strum Kenny Professor in Cancer Research,” said Kenneth Kaushansky, MD, Senior Vice President of the Health Sciences and Dean of the School of Medicine. “He is a renowned physician-scientist whose research focuses on the lipid mediators of cancer cell signaling. His work has profoundly impacted cancer research, as well as research in neurobiology, inflammation and metabolism.”
Dr. Kaushansky said that under Dr. Hannun’s leadership, the Stony Brook University Cancer Center will reach new heights and create something new for Suffolk County: An internationally recognized cancer center where researchers work side-by-side with physicians to quickly transform scientific discoveries into the latest medical treatments for cancer patients. Keys to this development are Stony Brook Medicine’s establishment of the Medical and Research Translation (MART) building, now under construction, and attaining National Cancer Institute (NCI) designation.
In his position, Dr. Hannun will build on the Cancer Center’s existing strengths. He will expand clinical programs, more fully integrate research with clinical care, recruit new physicians and cancer investigators, spearhead facility expansion, and use his knowledge and experience to transform the Center into a basic and translational research hub.
“I am deeply honored to receive the Joel Strum Kenny Professorship in Cancer Research and am indebted to the many donors who created this endowed position,” said Dr. Hannun, who is also Vice Dean of Cancer Medicine. “Stony Brook Medicine is undergoing a renaissance in its renewed focus on academic medicine, and we must deliver on our promise to innovate from bench to bedside.”
Dr. Hannun explained that by building on the exceptional academic and medical strengths of Stony Brook University, including imaging, informatics, genomics, applied math, computational biology, chemical biology, basic biomedical sciences, and other disciplines, Stony Brook’s multidisciplinary programs of excellence will be fortified to combat key cancers affecting millions and revolutionize care.
“All of us in the Cancer Center are committed wholly and completely to create medicines of the future that better treat and cure many forms of cancer,” Dr. Hannun added. “We embrace this challenge in a difficult time when the federal government has scaled down funding to support cutting-edge research. How wonderful it is know that our donors have the vision and generosity to make our vital work possible.”
In a special tribute to Joel Strum Kenny, President Stanley and Dr. Kaushansky presented Shirley Strum Kenny with flowers and a certificate to her and her husband, Robert Kenny, to commemorate their son’s life and legacy.
They also recognized the donors who generously created the Joel Strum Kenny Professorship in Cancer Research, including Priscilla Knapp and the Knapp family, the Simons Foundation, Erwin and Pearl Staller, unanimous support from the Stony Brook Foundation Board of Trustees, and the Kenny family.
About Dr. Yusuf A. Hannun
Dr. Hannun’s career has spanned more than 30-year career as a cancer researcher and clinician. Before coming to Stony Brook in 2012, he rose through the ranks at Duke University Medical Center and was subsequently recruited by the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), where he became Deputy Director of MUSC’s Hollins Cancer Center. His decade of leadership there led to the Center’s emergence as a NCI-designated Cancer Center in 2009.