SUNY Distinguished Professor

The rank of SUNY Distinguished Professor is accorded to faculty who have distinguished their campus and State University communities through outstanding academic contributions, including scholarly publications, national and international research presentations, research findings and the training of students.

2020-21 Honorees

Thomas A. Russo

Department of Medicine

A fellow of the Infectious Disease Society of America and leader in the study of infectious diseases, Thomas Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of infectious diseases, is an innovative translational researcher whose work has focused on “superbugs.” Dr. Russo’s research efforts have centered on pathogenesis, drug and vaccine development against the gram-negative bacteria extraintestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli, Acinetobacter baumannii and a new hypervirulent pathotype of Klebsiella pneumoniae. His work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Veterans Administration. As a leading international authority on infectious disease, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, he has shared his expertise and educated and informed the university, health care providers, the public and businesses about how best to manage this evolving crisis.

Frank A. Scannapieco

Department of Oral Biology

Frank Scannapieco, DMD, PhD, professor and chair of oral biology, is a trailblazing scientist whose work has provided critical insights into the interplay between oral infection and systemic disease. Dr. Scannapieco was one of the first scientists to suggest a linkage between oral cavity bacteria and respiratory infections in critical care patients—a concept recently validated. His seminal work has changed admission and care procedures in critical care units, with oral hygiene now included in patients’ routine. Because his research has implications for the management of respiratory diseases, it has been particularly relevant during the pandemic. One of the most highly cited scientist in his field, Dr. Scannapieco has also been credited with contributing to the foundation for our understanding of early dental plaque formation.

Bianca Weinstock-Guttman

Department of Neurology

Bianca Weinstock-Guttman, MD, is a professor of neurology, director of the Jacobs Multiple Sclerosis Center for Treatment and Research, and executive director of the New York State MS Consortium. An international leader in MS clinical research, she has made seminal contributions to our understanding of MS risk and progression as related to vascular comorbidities: diet, age, gender and race. Her studies of MS in Black Americans created a paradigm shift in patient care, while her pediatric MS investigations have improved recognition of MS as a childhood disease and enhanced care for children with MS worldwide. A remarkably prolific and highly cited scholar, she helped identify risk factors that may contribute to the etiology and progression of osteoporosis in MS, providing insights into nervous system control of MS-associated bone loss.