North Shore-LIJ Presents Thomas E. Starzl, MD, PhD, the “Father of Transplantation,” with Honorary Degree

MANHASSET, NY – The 2012 Commencement Exercises for the Elmezzi Graduate School of Molecular Medicine and the Academic Convocation for the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine were held May 24 at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research where Thomas E. Starzl, MD, PhD, was presented with an honorary degree. Each year, the Elmezzi Graduate School awards an honorary degree to an outstanding physician who has advanced biomedical research and improved medical treatment for patients. This year, Dr. Starzl, who is known as the “Father of Transplantation,” was recognized for his developments in improving organ transplantation.

During the commencement exercises for the Elmezzi Graduate School, students who have completed their dissertation studies are granted the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Molecular Medicine. The Elmezzi Graduate School of Molecular Medicine is a PhD program for physicians who wish to pursue careers in biomedical education. During their training, Elmezzi students conduct research in Feinstein Institute laboratories to advance biomedical knowledge and to pursue new therapeutic approaches and diagnostic tools. This year, four graduate students received their degrees:

  • Cletus Cheyuo, MD, for his work in preventing brain damage following stroke. His thesis is entitled “Modulation of the Innate Immune Response to Ischemic Stroke: The Novel Anti-Inflammatory Role of MFG-E8 and Ghrelin”
  •  Daniel Griffin, MD, for his work in identifying a key cell in the human immune system. His thesis is entitled “Human B1 cells; phenotype and role in health and disease”
  • Preetesh Jain, MD, for his work in identifying important factors that influence outcome in leukemia. His thesis is entitled “The Th17/IL-17 Axis in the Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Microenvironment – Distribution, Clinical and Functional Significance”
  • Manuela Woelfle-Guter, MD, for her work in understanding the regulation of cell proliferation and cell survival in leukemia. Her thesis is entitled “Antigen Binding Properties of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia B-cell Receptors and their Influences on Leukemic Cell Fate”

The academic convocation for the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine acknowledged all current professorships and presented the new School of Medicine professors.

Dr. Starzl not only received an honorary degree at the event, he also spoke to attendees about his career. Throughout Dr. Starzl’s career, he successfully identified better ways to control organ rejection, made significant advancements in transplant medicine and discovered novel approaches that enhanced understanding of disease processes. He performed the world’s first human liver transplant in 1963, and today a major focus of Dr. Starzl’s current research is transplant tolerance and chimerism (the coexistence of donor and recipient cells). In addition, Dr. Starzl has received more than 200 awards and his national and international endeavors include membership in more than 60 professional and scientific organizations. He was inducted as one of only five American members into the prestigious National French Academy of Medicine. He has authored or co-authored more than 2,200 scientific articles, four books and 300 book chapters. He also recently published his autobiography, The Puzzle People: Memoirs of a Transplant Surgeon.

About The Elmezzi Graduate School of Molecular Medicine

Located in Manhasset, NY, The Elmezzi Graduate School of Molecular Medicine is part of the North Shore-LIJ Health System and in partnership with The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research. The Elmezzi Graduate School of Molecular Medicine was established in 1994 and is a PhD program for physicians who wish to pursue careers in biomedical research. The program is an individually tailored, three-year program with a strong emphasis on translational research. For more information, click here.

About The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research

Headquartered in Manhasset, NY, Feinstein Institute for Medical Research is home to international scientific leaders in many areas including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, psychiatric disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, sepsis, human genetics, pulmonary hypertension, leukemia, neuroimmunology, and medicinal chemistry. The Feinstein Institute, part of the North Shore-LIJ Health System, ranks in the top 5th percentile of all National Institutes of Health grants awarded to research centers. For more information, visit www.FeinsteinInstitute.org.

Media Contact:
Emily Ng
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eng3@northwell.edu