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Three Upstate faculty earn Distinguished Faculty rank from SUNY

Three Upstate faculty earn Distinguished Faculty rank from SUNY

SYRACUSE, N.Y.-- Three Upstate Medical University faculty members have been appointed to the rank of Distinguished Faculty by the SUNY Board of Trustees.

Ann Botash, MD; Andras Perl, MD, PhD; and Leonard Weiner, MD, were named Distinguished Faculty in acknowledgment of their teaching, research and service. They joined 18 other faculty from SUNY campuses across the state in receiving this faculty designation.

“Each year it is an honor to review the collective work of SUNY’s outstanding faculty, and to recognize the sheer academic strength within our walls that inspires our students,”  said SUNY Board Chairman H. Carl McCall. “The standards of our distinguished ranks are rigorous, with high demands set for leadership and innovation. Congratulations to all of today’s honorees, who have led our students by an excellent example, created new research opportunities, and challenged those around them to reach higher levels of achievement.”

“SUNY faculty achieving the distinguished ranks provide an additional spark that inspires groundbreaking research, innovation, and discovery while also setting a higher standard for teaching and learning,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “Congratulations to all of the faculty receiving this honorable distinction.”

Upstate Medical University President Danielle Laraque-Arena, MD, FAAP, recognized the trio. “Upstate is proud of the selection of Drs. Botash, Perl and Weiner to receive SUNY’s highest faculty rank,” she said. “They have worked tirelessly to improve the health of our community and beyond through their research, patient care, education and community service. Their honor is a reflection of the work we do as the region’s only academic medical center.”

Ann Botash, MD, received the rank of Distinguished Teaching Professor.

The Distinguished Teaching Professorship recognizes and honors mastery of teaching. For this prestigious tribute to be conferred, candidates must have demonstrated consistently superior mastery of teaching, outstanding service to students, and commitment to their ongoing intellectual growth, scholarship and professional growth, and adherence to rigorous academic standards and requirements.

Botash, who serves as professor and vice chair of the Department of Pediatrics, is an expert in child abuse and physician at Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital. Her learners include medical students, pediatric residents, practicing physicians, members of many other health professions, colleagues in law, criminal justice, social work, and the lay public. She teaches in the classroom, at the patient bedside, on the Internet, and through various other media to reach an audience across the state and across the country. She has received a number of awards from national organizations for her teaching and service, including the Public Policy and Advocacy Award from the Academic Pediatric Association, for her work developing a curriculum in advocacy, and recognition from the American Association of Medical Colleges Council on Teaching Hospitals for her work on a model, which teaches physicians how to deliver a safe and comfortable experience for pediatric patients undergoing bedside procedures.

Andras Perl, MD, PhD received the rank of Distinguished Professor.

The Distinguished Professorship is conferred upon individuals who have achieved national or international prominence and a distinguished reputation within a chosen field. This distinction is attained through significant contributions to the research literature or through artistic performance or achievement in the case of the arts. The candidate’s work is of such character that the individual’s presence elevates the standards of scholarship of colleagues both within and beyond these persons’ academic fields.

Perl is chief of the Division of Rheumatology, director of the Rheumatology Fellowship, and co-director of the MD-PhD training program. Perl has achieved national and international recognition for his research into the mechanisms of autoimmunity in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), as well as the translational applications of that research to treatment of patients with the condition. His major discoveries include the identification of HRES-1, the first protein-coding human endogenous retrovirus and its impact on T-cell activation and lupus pathogenesis; the discovery of mitochondrial and metabolic dysfunction and the activation of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) in lupus; the discovery of transaldolase and its role in metabolic control of apoptosis, inflammation, autoimmunity and progressive liver disease leading to cancer; and clinical research into effective treatment of lupus based on targets of molecular pathophysiology. Perl has been funded continuously for his research by the National Insitutes of Health and other foundations, and has mentored dozens of graduate students, medical students, MD-PhD students, postdoctoral fellows, and junior faculty over his 30-year tenure at Upstate.

Leonard Weiner, MD, received the rank of Distinguished Service Professor.

The Distinguished Service Professorship honors and recognizes extraordinary service. This distinction honors and recognizes individuals for extraordinary service not only at the campus and the State University, but also at the community, regional, state, national and international levels.

Weiner serves as vice chair for Academic Affairs, director of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Disease and Immunology, and director of the Pediatric Infectious Disease Fellowship at Upstate. He has previously served in a number of other leadership roles at Upstate, including vice chair and interim chair of the Department of Pediatrics, as well as associate dean for Clinical Affairs in the College of Medicine and deputy medical director of Upstate University Hospital. He is also a physician with Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital. Weiner’s service in the region includes his role as director of the State Designated Pediatric AIDS Center, service on the Professional Standards Review Organization of Central New York at Upstate, on the “Success by Six” Immunization Project Team. He has been active with the American Academy of Pediatrics for several decades, including his membership on the Committee on Infectious Diseases, which publishes the “Red Book,” clinical guidelines for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of infectious disease in children, which is used worldwide. For his many contributions to the field of pediatric infectious disease over many decades, he received the Academy’s prestigious Lifetime Contribution Award in 2015.

Drs. Andras Perl, Ann Botash and Leonard Weiner of Upstate Medical University were named to the rank of Distinguished Faculty by the SUNY Board of Trustees.