Dean with Student Council 2022

Letter from the Dean

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) at the State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate Health Sciences University. It is an honor and privilege to serve as the fifth Dean of SGS since its founding as a Graduate Program in 1956 and Graduate School in 1966.

Downstate is located in the heart of Brooklyn, a diverse and exciting New York City borough of 2.6 million people. It is thrilling to study biomedical science during such an unprecedented era of breakthroughs and opportunities for discovery and in such an exhilarating place!

Scientists at Downstate are working every day to shape the future of bioscience and biomedicine through innovation and discovery. And it is within the School of Graduate Studies where such pursuits are happening hand-in-hand with training the next generation of scientific leaders. The faculty and staff of SGS are dedicated to ensuring that our graduate students receive top-notch training – through interactive coursework and team-science approaches, cutting-edge thesis research, experience in presenting science at conferences, and numerous other opportunities. We are guided every day by our overarching goal of helping students develop into thought leaders in their chosen fields.

Reflecting the current era of biological science, our SGS Programs are multidisciplinary and translational, and are led by basic science and clinical faculty. Neural & Behavioral Science (NBS) is a program with an exceptionally deep and rich history, with research areas focused on nearly all areas of neuroscience – from molecular to behavioral. As part of NBS, we partner and collaborate with the Institute for Basic Research in Staten Island on research focused on developmental neuroscience and the alleviation of developmental disabilities. The Program in Molecular & Cellular Biology (MCB) is our broadest program, having exciting research opportunities in concentrations encompassing cardiovascular, fundamental cellular and molecular biology, cancer biology, and much more. Our MD-PhD program enables outstanding, research-focused Downstate MD trainees to pursue their PhD through any of our standing PhD programs, or via a collaboration with SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering to research the next generation of diagnostic and therapeutic tools.

Whichever SGS Program a student joins, they can be assured that we will work tirelessly to provide them with the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in this current era, including quantitative thinking, problem solving, grant writing, and entrepreneurship. Because many PhD students are interested in careers outside of academia, we provide SGS students with the exposure and skillsets to be successful whether they choose academia, biotech, pharma, or any of a wide range of career possibilities – and we aim to keep their time to degree as short as possible so they can get out into the world to make a difference!

Our school’s greatest strength is undoubtedly our diverse, energetic, incredible student body. Their dedication, collaborative spirit, and creativity have helped to create an environment in which all of them – and we – can thrive. I encourage you to take a peek at the video vignette on our main page – in it, after my predecessor Dean Mark Stewart introduces the school, you can hear and see the enthusiasm of SGS PhD students. Our students work together, day in and day out, with our collegial faculty, our dedicated support staff, and our culturally rich local community to make this a remarkable place to learn and drive science forward.

Do not hesitate to contact me, or any of the Graduate School faculty or staff, for help or information about our programs.

David Christini, PhD

Interim Dean, SGS