Upstate News

April 21, 2003
Doretta Royer 315 464-4833

Mary-Claire King, Ph.D., and Irwin M. Weiner, M.D., to receive honorary degrees at SUNY Upstate Commencement May 18

Mary-Claire King, Ph.D., the research scientist who discovered BRCAI, the gene for hereditary breast cancer, and Irwin M. Weiner, M.D., former dean of SUNY Upstate’s College of Medicine who is internationally respected for his research into renal physiology, will receive honorary degrees at SUNY Upstate Medical University’s 2003 Commencement Ceremony Sunday, May 18 at 1 p.m. in the John H. Mulroy Civic Center Crouse Hinds Theater. The honorary degrees are conferred by the State University Board of Trustees.

SUNY Upstate President Gregory L. Eastwood, M.D., will award more than 280 degrees to candidates from SUNY Upstate’s colleges of Medicine, Health Professions, Nursing and Graduate Studies.

The College of Medicine will confer 161 medical degrees.

The College of Health Professions will award 81 degrees: 44 bachelor of science degrees, nine bachelor of professional studies degrees and 28 combined bachelor/master of physical therapy degrees (M.P.T.).

The College of Graduate Studies will award ten degrees: one master’s degree, eight doctorates and one combined M.D./Ph.D. Degree.

The College of Nursing will award 31 degrees: 19 bachelor’s degrees and 12 master’s degrees.

In addition to receiving an honorary degree, King, the American Cancer Society Professor of Medicine and Genetics at the University of Washington in Seattle, will deliver the Commencement Address.

King was one of the first biologists to prove that familial breast cancer could be traced to a particular gene. Her research led to the identification of the BRCAI gene, implicated in certain types of heritable breast cancer. Her current research focuses primarily on genetic analysis of breast and ovarian cancer. She is investigating the genes that predispose some women to breast cancer to learn what these genes may reveal about breast cancer generally. She also travels extensively as an advocate for breast cancer research. Her other medical research interests include genetic analysis of inherited deafness and systemic lupus erythematosus. Her laboratory is investigating human genetic diversity.

Weiner is a 1956 cum laude graduate of SUNY Upstate’s College of Medicine. Initially teaching pharmacology and experimental therapeutics at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, he returned to SUNY Upstate in 1966 as associate professor of pharmacology. He chaired the Department of Pharmacology from 1968 to 1987, dually serving as SUNY Upstate’s vice president for research from 1982 to 1988. He served as dean of the SUNY Upstate’s College of Medicine and vice president for medical and biomedical education from 1987 to 1991. He then left SUNY Upstate to serve as dean of the College of Medicine for the SUNY Health Science Center in Brooklyn, also know as SUNY Downstate, until his retirement in 1996.

Weiner’s research produced major discoveries regarding transport physiology, mechanism of action of diuretics and tubular secretion of drugs.

To receive an electronic copy of photos of King and Weiner, mail request to

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