Stony Brook Medicine Physician Researcher Named Knapp Chair in Pediatrics
Nationally renowned clinical geneticist and Stony Brook Children’s Hospital Physician-in-Chief Margaret McGovern, MD, PhD, has been named the inaugural Knapp Chair in Pediatrics at Stony Brook Children’s.
The Knapp Chair in Pediatrics was made possible through the generosity of the Knapp Swezey Foundation, the Island Outreach Foundation and the Gardener Foundation.
“The incredible philanthropy of the Knapp family has continued to promote an environment of excellence at Stony Brook,” said President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. “Their establishment of the Chair in Pediatrics will remain a lasting legacy that illustrates the deep commitment they have to the health and well-being of Long Island children and their families.”
A board-certified pediatrician and nationally renowned clinical geneticist, Dr. McGovern has a long-standing research interest in inborn errors of metabolism, rare and inherited disorders through which the body cannot properly turn food into energy. Dr. McGovern’s research is focused on Niemann-Pick disease (NPD) in particular, a progressive lysosomal storage disorder that children are born with and which gets worse the longer the child lives. Affecting every organ system within the body — lungs, heart, liver, spleen and more — the disease’s only available treatment is to manage patient symptoms and it consequently leads to early passing.
An international authority on the disorder, Dr. McGovern aims to test and develop safe and viable therapies for the disease. She’s evaluated patients from around the world and conducted clinical research to understand the spectrum of disease manifestations, the course of the disease and to evaluate possible therapies. She recently completed a Phase I clinical trial of enzyme replacement for Niemann Pick disease Type B.
Kenneth Kaushansky, MD, MACP, Senior Vice President of Health Sciences and Dean, School of Medicine, believes Dr. McGovern’s extensive management experience and her knowledge of best clinical practices in the academic environment have made her a superb leader for the Children’s Hospital. “Dr. McGovern’s continued leadership in this role is essential to our continued growth and success, and is certain to enhance the quality of our research, teaching and clinical care for generations to come.”
Ever since Stony Brook Children’s launched in 2010, Dr. McGovern has been key to its continued development and the expansion of its services in 30 specialties.
The Hospital is also the Regional Perinatal Center for the area and is home to the nation’s first Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Center, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Program, Pediatric Cardiology Program, Pediatric HIV and AIDS Center, Cystic Fibrosis Center and the Comprehensive Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Center. Under Dr. McGovern’s tenure, the hospital has established the continuously recognized 24-hour pediatric emergency room and has expanded the neonatal intensive care unit.
With its increasingly robust pediatric program and the construction of the new Children’s Hospital building, Dr. McGovern has been able to recruit additional pediatric specialists — bringing the total number to 180 — to care for Suffolk County’s 400,000 children.
Dr. McGovern is grateful to the Knapp Swezey family for helping Stony Brook Children’s compete effectively in the recruitment of pediatric researchers and clinical specialists. “To educate the next generation well, we need professors who are engaged in the research mission so they can pass on that passion for gaining new knowledge to trainees. I’m proud to continue to build on the research strengths of Stony Brook University to advance the opportunities available to trainees and to offer hope to patients and their families afflicted with disorders that currently don’t have any treatment or cure,” she said.
Endowed professorships and chairs are the hallmark of a great university. While they bring recognition to the chair holder, the department and University, they are also used to retain and attract the world’s leading professionals and researchers. It’s why one of the primary goals of Stony Brook University’s current $600 million Campaign for Stony Brook is to create a total of 100 endowed faculty positions by July 2018. Over the past six years, the number of endowed chairs and professorships at Stony Brook has increased more than seven-fold to the current total of 42 endowed chairs and professorships.
For more information about endowed faculty and gifts, visit stonybrook.edu/endowedfaculty.