The appointment, effective August 1, followed an international search, with a special focus on the confluence of psychiatry and the field of genomics conducted in the context of a cluster recruitment model, “seeking to advance Downstate’s stature in the burgeoning field of genomic health,” according to Carlos N. Pato, MD Dean of the College of Medicine.
A committee of nine diverse faculty from within and without the department searched for the best candidate for chair, and the best scientific match for the existing talent at Downstate, and a similarly-focused search for a new chair of cell biology supported by the New York State’s Empire Innovation Fund.
Dr. Fanous is qualified to lead the Department of Psychiatry and contribute to genomics research at Downstate. He is currently a staff psychiatrist and chief of the psychiatric genetics research program at the Washington VA Medical Center, and Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the Georgetown University School of Medicine.
Dr. Fanous has broad and deep experience in both clinical and research education and training. This has encompassed a wide range of trainees and activities, including medical student lectures and electives, clinical supervision of psychiatric residents, and research training of residents, PhD candidates, and post-docs in Human Genetics, as well as junior faculty, including being the primary mentor to one K01 awardee.
Dr. Fanous received his medical training at New York University (living in Brooklyn at the time) and worked in multiple New York HHC hospitals. He is deeply familiar with and appreciative of the complex and diverse cultural and social milieu of the city, and he has long-standing professional relationships with local physicians at Downstate, the New York Veterans Administration, and other institutions. Dr. Fanous will maintain his VA appointment, now through New York, and will strengthen Downstate’s relationship with this important affiliate.
Dr. Fanous is a distinguished statistical geneticist, having conducted his post-doctoral training in psychiatric genetics with Drs. Ken Kendler and Michael Neale at Virginia Commonwealth University. He has successfully competed for federal research funding as a Principal Investigator since 2002 and he is an author on 113 peer-reviewed journal articles. His research has enabled him to make important contributions to our current knowledge of the genetic basis of psychiatric illness, especially schizophrenia. Dr. Fanous’ work dovetails extremely well with Downstate’s Institute for Genomic Health, in which he will serve as a senior investigator.
“We believe the recruitment of Dr. Ayman Fanous is a great success and will lead to greater growth in our Department of Psychiatry, much closer integration with our Kings County partner, and significant extramural research support in the area of genomics,” according to Dr. Pato. “We invite you to join us in welcoming him to our academic community.”
“We also recognize and express our appreciation and gratitude to Dr. Stephen Goldfinger, Distinguished Service Professor and current Chair of Psychiatry, for his years of service as a faculty member and departmental leader. Dr. Goldfinger has made an immense contribution to our institution and the field and we are delighted that he will continue to serve as a senior member of our faculty in the years to come.”