Leading by Example
Accomplished women are reinventing science and clinical care
Stony Brook Medicine’s researchers and clinicians are leaders in their fields. They also are leading the way for students and junior faculty, by example and through teaching and mentorship. We asked six accomplished women to share their career journeys with us.
Latha Chandran, MD, MPH
When Dr. Chandran first began to attend meetings in her chosen profession of academic medicine, she sometimes was the only woman in the room – and even more frequently the only woman of color. Now, as Stony Brook University School of Medicine’s Vice Dean for Academic and Faculty Affairs, she is a strong voice for gender and cultural diversity, and she has implemented curriculum changes in medical education. As the inaugural Donoho Distinguished Teaching Professor, Dr. Chandran oversees training programs that prepare academic clinicians to lead in their specialties.
Angela Kokkosis, MD
Dr. Kokkosis turned a high school summer research job on campus into a lifetime journey with Stony Brook Medicine. Today she is a vascular surgeon whose clinical areas of expertise include open and endovascular approaches to aneurysmal disease, carotid disease, peripheral arterial disease, dialysis access and venous disease. Her trajectory at Stony Brook follows the path of teenage researcher to graduate of the University’s combined BS/MD program to Director, Carotid Interventions for Stony Brook Vascular Center.
Allison McLarty, MD
When Dr. McLarty started working as an attending physician in 1997, she was well-trained as a cardiothoracic surgeon. She was also young, female and black – three qualities that many patients found unnerving at that time. Her persistence and hard work in the face of closed doors helped her become a widely respected surgeon and leader at Stony University Heart Institute. Dr. McLarty is Co-Director of the Ventricular Assist Device program — the most experienced VAD program on Long Island — and Director of the Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) Program, which can be lifesaving for people with sudden heart and lung failure.
Lina Obeid, MD
Dr. Obeid is a SUNY Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Dean for Research at Stony Brook University School of Medicine. As Dean for Research, she manages overall research activities in the School of Medicine and helps facilitate research growth through improving the infrastructure, investing in targeted research opportunities, and mentoring students, post docs and faculty. The Office of Scientific Affairs, which Dr. Obeid oversees, includes 17 core research facilities. Her research focuses on bioactive lipid signaling in cancer biology. Her specific interest is in bioactive sphingolipids — a class of lipids originally named for the mythical sphinx, because these substances were a perplexing riddle for scientists — and their role in regulating cancer cell growth and cell death. Dr. Obeid’s personal cancer journey – she is a cancer survivor – lends her work a special poignancy and urgency. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the American Association of Physicians.
Aurora Pryor, MD
Dr. Pryor is the Vice Chair for Clinical Affairs in the Department of Surgery, Chief of Bariatric, Foregut and Advanced Gastrointestinal Surgery and founding Director of Stony Brook’s multidisciplinary Bariatric and Metabolic Weight Loss Center. Dr. Pryor, who holds patents for several surgical technologies, leads a team exploring new devices and procedural options that offer life-changing weight maintenance solutions to substantially overweight people. Dr. Pryor is also a surgical educator. Her current research focuses on advancing laparoscopic bariatric surgery techniques and outcomes, and on new technology in surgery.
Lorna Role, PhD
Dr. Role is a SUNY Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior. She is a Co-Director of Stony Brook University Neurosciences Institute and of the Thomas Hartman Center for Parkinson's Research. She is recognized for her innovative research on neurocircuitry altered by neuropsychiatric disorders. Dr. Role is an Elected Fellow of both the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She has received both Javits and Pioneer awards from the NIH during her 36 years of uninterrupted funding. The engagement of faculty in training of high school students was a major contributing factor in Dr. Role’s decision to join Stony Brook University in 2009. In the nine years she has been at Stony Brook, she has served as a mentor every summer. In 2012, a year when Stony Brook mentored a record eight of the 40 high school students chosen as finalists in the prestigious Intel Science Talent Search (now known as the Regeneron Science Talent Search), two of those finalists were co-mentored by Dr. Role. To date, she has mentored three finalists and two semifinalists.