Lina Obeid, a physician-scientist and biomedical researcher, has been appointed dean for research and professor of medicine at Stony Brook School of Medicine. She comes to Stony Brook from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). At Stony Brook she will oversee the Office of Scientific Affairs (OSA), which facilitates the biomedical research enterprise of Stony Brook Medicine and involves scientists engaged in all aspects of basic, translational and clinical research discoveries.
The OSA at Stony Brook University manages approximately $75 million in research grants. Its research base has grown to a total of 17 core research facilities, including a Genomics Core Facility, Stem Cell Transplantation, a Biostatistics Consulting Core and a Bioinformatics Facility. These facilities support the work of Stony Brook faculty investigating all areas of medicine.
“Dr. Obeid is uniquely qualified to serve as Stony Brook’s new Dean for Research,” said Kenneth Kaushansky, senior vice president for the health sciences and dean of the School of Medicine. “As a successful biomedical scientist, and because of her insight as a physician and her administrative skills, she will direct the continued growth of our research enterprise, a crucial aspect to Stony Brook’s mission to develop new diagnostics and therapeutics for heart disease, cancer, neurological disorders and other diseases that afflict millions.
“This is an exciting time to join Stony Brook as research is growing in many areas of medicine,” said Obeid. “Because of the plans to create additional space, laboratories and resources for research collaboration within the School of Medicine and University, the time is right for the institution to further strengthen its basic research, translational investigations and supportive core research facilities.”
A large portion of the additional space and resources allocated for collaborative University research will result from the plan to build a state-of-the-art Medical and Research Translational (MART) Building. The creation of the MART will be partially funded by the Simons Gift and SUNY 2020 Challenge Grant application. The MART, to be located on the Stony Brook Medicine campus, will further elevate research at Stony Brook. The building will serve as a hub for basic researchers and clinicians to routinely collaborate and evaluate new discoveries and therapeutics that can be “translated” into cutting-edge treatments.
Obeid most recently served as MUSC’s Boyle Professor of Medicine in the Division of Geriatrics and Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. She was also a staff physician at the Ralph Johnson Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Charleston. While at MUSC she expanded her research on the role and regulation of bioactive lipids in disease pathologies, with a focus on inflammation, cancer and aging. Her investigation of lipid signaling led her to become the first scientist to identify the role of ceramide as a regulator of cell death.
She holds numerous National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants. At MUSC she served as principal investigator of an $11.7 million Center for Biological Research Excellence (COBRE) core grant for lipid signaling. Sponsored by the NIH’s National Center for Research Resources, COBREs support thematic multidisciplinary centers that augment and strengthen institutional biomedical research capacities and enhance research infrastructure.
Obeid plans to launch a similar research center focused on lipid signaling and lipidomics at Stony Brook. She says the research will involve some of the same investigators who worked at the COBRE facility and Stony Brook researchers, whose lipidomics research has the potential to lead to new therapeutics for many major diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, neurological disorders, infectious diseases and diabetes.
Obeid earned her MD degree with distinction in 1983 from the American University in Beirut, Lebanon. From there she went to Duke University and completed an internship and residency in internal medicine, followed by a fellowship in endocrinology and geriatrics. Her work in the lab of Dr. Robert J. Lefkowitz at Duke sparked her interest in the varied roles of signaling lipids in cell stress and implications in disease, leading to her nearly 20-year research career with continuous NIH support.