Commencement 2016

SCIENCE AT THE HEART OF MEDICINE
Commencement 2016

Commencement speaker Susan Band Horwitz, Ph.D., and Dean Allen M. Spiegel, M.D.
Commencement speaker Susan Band Horwitz, Ph.D., and Dean Allen M. Spiegel, M.D.

“It’s a pleasure to see so many happy people in one place at one time,” said Edward R. Burns, M.D. ’76, Einstein’s executive dean, at Einstein’s 58th commencement. The event took place May 25 in New York at Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall.

Allen M. Spiegel, M.D., the Marilyn and Stanley M. Katz Dean, distributed the alumni and faculty awards and then introduced the commencement speaker—Einstein’s own Susan Band Horwitz, Ph.D., the distinguished professor of molecular pharmacology who discovered the mechanism of action of the anticancer drug paclitaxel (Taxol). Dr. Horwitz shared homespun wisdom with the graduates. “Every morning when I walk through the lobby of the Forchheimer Building, I see the words ‘Science at the Heart of Medicine,’” she said. “That motto sets me up for the day, because I know that progress in treating serious disease will come from a greater understanding of human physiology and chemistry.”

Dr. Horwitz is a fan of the simple question. “The right simple question can often produce meaningful results,” she said. In her case, the question was “How does Taxol kill tumor cells?” Pursuing the answer became her life’s work, and today this extract of the Pacific yew has helped more than a million people with ovarian, breast and lung cancer. She has received many honors for her discovery, including the Rose C. Falkenstein Chair in Cancer Research at Einstein and membership in the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine.

Dr. Horwitz concluded her address by reminding the audience not to forget the “heart” part of the Einstein motto. “It’s important to listen to students, patients, colleagues and children with genuine interest and concern,” she said. “Great advances in technology can never replace empathy between humans or within a community.”

EINSTEIN TASSEL TALLY

DEGREECLASS OF 2016GRADUATES SINCE 1959

M.D 198 8,593
PH.D. 72 1,566

Top, jubilant graduates; bottom, before the ceremony, from left: Einstein’s Dean Spiegel and Edward R. Burns, M.D. ’76, executive dean; Steven M. Safyer, M.D. ’82, president and CEO of Montefiore Medicine; and Philip O. Ozuah, M.D., Ph.D., executive vice president and chief operating officer at Montefiore Medicine.
 

ALUMNI AWARDS

Alfredo A. Sadun, M.D. ’78, Ph.D. ’76
Dominick P. Purpura Distinguished Alumnus Award

Sue Wickner, Ph.D. ’74
Distinguished Ph.D. Alumna Award

Gail Solomon, M.D. ’62
Distinguished Alumnus/Clinical Practitioner Award

Neil Flomenbaum, M.D. ’73
Lifetime Achievement Award

Harris Goldstein, M.D. ’80
Lifetime Service Award

Stephen G. Baum, M.D.
Honorary Alumnus Award

 

FACULTY AWARDS

Irene Blanco, M.D. ’04, M.S. ’10
Samuel M. Rosen Award for Outstanding Teaching– Basic Science

Mimoza Meholli, M.D.
Samuel M. Rosen Award for Outstanding Teaching– Clinical

Joshua D. Nosanchuk, M.D.
Harry Eagle Award for Outstanding Basic Science Teaching

Lawrence J. Brandt, M.D.
Harry H. Gordon Award for Outstanding Clinical Teaching

Robert W. Marion, M.D. ’79
Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Teaching

Dianne Cox, Ph.D.
LaDonne H. Schulman Award for Excellence in Teaching

Richard G. Gorlick, M.D.
Saul R. Korey Award in Translational Science and Medicine

 

GRADUATE CLOSE-UPS

 

 

Ryan White, Ph.D. ’16. Dr. White, originally from Greensboro, NC, will always appreciate the sense of community he found at Einstein. “When I came to interview, it was clear that the students were all good friends both in and outside the lab, and I had the joy of seeing many ‘beer-hour’ or lunch-break talks turn into fruitful collaborations spanning departments,” he says. Dr. White is bringing this collegiality to his new research position at Rockefeller University, where he studies how replication machinery copes with DNA lesions and how defects in DNA-repair proteins affect replication. Elucidating these basic mechanisms will contribute to a better understanding of genetic defects underlying certain types of bone marrow failure.
Joy Goldstein, M.D. ’16. For Dr. Goldstein, who came to Einstein from nearby West Hempstead, NY, the sense of community at Einstein included support from an Alumni Association scholarship, which freed her to follow her passions and interests. As she begins her residency in pediatrics at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Dr. Goldstein looks forward to working with her young patients and their families. “I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from some amazing mentors and excited to put the great clinical training that I got at Einstein into practice,” she says.