Upstate News

July 14, 2008
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

Michael Iannuzzi, M.D., pulmonologist from Mount Sinai Medical Center joins SUNY Upstate as chair of Department of Medicine

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Michael C. Iannuzzi, MD, MBA, chief of the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, has been named chair of the Department of Medicine at SUNY Upstate Medical University. The appointment, effective July 1, was announced by Steven Scheinman, M.D., senior vice president and dean of the College of Medicine

A specialist in lung disease, Iannuzzi is widely known for his role in the discovery of the cystic fibrosis gene in 1989. During the last decade, he has been an internationally recognized expert in sarcoidosis. His most recent research, funded by the National Institutes of Health, is in the genetic epidemiology of sarcoidosis. Last November, he was the lead author on a sarcoidosis progress report published in the New England Journal of Medicine. (Sarcoidosis is an immune system disorder with no known cause that can affect any organ.)

“Dr. Iannuzzi is a remarkable individual,” Scheinman said. “He is a master clinician, an award-winning teacher, and an accomplished scientist. In addition, he is a skillful manager, a good listener, and a thoughtful leader. I am thrilled that he has joined the SUNY Upstate faculty.”

In joining the Department of Medicine, Iannuzzi will lead SUNY Upstate’s largest clinical department with more than 100 physician faculty members in 11 different divisions and sections, ranging from cardiology to rheumatology with numerous specialty clinics, such as the Joslin Diabetes Center, the hematology and oncology practice in Oneida and Oswego counties and the state’s Designated AIDS Center.

Iannuzzi said SUNY Upstate’s Department of Medicine is poised for growth. “One goal is to reinforce strengths such as in cancer, infectious diseases and diabetes care,” he said. “Our Joslin Diabetes Center is outstanding—and ready to expand into related areas like obesity, hyperlipidemia, and diabetic heart disease. SUNY Upstate’s new heart and cancer centers also will allow us to grow these programs.”

Expanding the department’s research is another priority. “Clinicians have phenomenal insight into disease, and basic scientists bring different insights. The key is to build interdisciplinary teams and respect what each party brings to the table. It’s much more productive than looking at a problem through one discipline.”

Iannuzzi joined Mt. Sinai in 2003, when he was named professor of internal medicine. Subsequently, he was appointed as a division chief and was a member of the medical team of Mt. Sinai’s Asthma Clinic. Prior to his Mount Sinai post, Iannuzzi was a tenured professor at Case Western Reserve University (2000 to 2003) and also practiced at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit (1991 to 2002).

As a researcher, Iannuzzi has compiled a significant record of scientific discovery. Funded by more than $12 million in research support, much of it from the National Institutes of Health, Iannuzzi has made advances in the understanding of cystic fibrosis and sarcoidosis.

While on the faculty of the University of Michigan Medical Center, Iannuzzi and a team of researchers made a significant scientific breakthrough when they successfully isolated various DNA sequences leading to the discovery of the cystic fibrosis gene. The discovery has brought researchers a greater understanding of the basic defect in this inherited disorder. Their findings were published in the journal Science. He has received numerous awards for his work on cystic fibrosis and is one of seven scientists holding a patent on the gene’s discovery.

In studying sarcoidosis, Iannuzzi’s work has helped scientists better understand the causes of sarcoidosis and how it affects different populations, especially African Americans. Iannuzzi’s current research has identified two possible sarcoidosis genes and is searching for other genetic factors that predispose individuals to progressive disease.

He has authored dozens of research papers, book chapters and made more than 100 presentations in his distinguished career. In addition to his research honors, Iannuzzi has been acknowledged for his outstanding skills as a teacher and is a perennial pick for the Best Doctors in America listings.

Iannuzzi earned bachelor’s degree from Polytechnic University in 1975 and his medical degree from the University of Michigan Medical School in 1979. He added an MBA from the University of Michigan Business School in 2002. He did his internship, residency and chief medical residency at the University of Michigan Medical Center, a clinical fellowship in pulmonary and critical care medicine at the University of Colorado Health Science Center, and a research fellowship in pulmonary sciences at the Webb Waring Lung Institute in Colorado Springs, Colo.

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