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Stony Brook Children’s Pediatric Physician Researchers Named Endowed Chairs

Stony Brook University on Nov. 14 honored and formally appointed three new endowed chairs, including two nationally recognized leaders of Stony Brook Children’s Hospital.

Margaret M. McGovern, MD, PhD, Stony Brook Children’s Hospital Physician-in-Chief, was installed as the Knapp Chair in Pediatrics, and Christopher Muratore, MD, Chief of Pediatric Surgery, was installed as the Knapp Swezey Chair in Pediatric Surgery during the ceremony. Esther Takeuchi, PhD, materials scientist and chemical engineering the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, was installed as the William and Jane Knapp Chair in Energy and the Environment.

These new endowed faculty positions were funded by philanthropic gifts from the Knapp family through the Knapp Swezey Foundation, Island Outreach Foundation, and Jane and William Knapp respectively. For more than two decades, the Knapp family philanthropic giving has created excellence in many programs across the Stony Brook campus.

“From the start of my tenure at Stony Brook, it has been my goal to create 100 endowed faculty positions across a wide range of disciplines to help the university compete with our aspirational peers for the best and brightest faculty,” said Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., MD. “I am most grateful that through the generosity of the Knapp family and others, we are almost there.”

A nationally renowned clinical geneticist, Dr. McGovern, BS ’78, MD, PhD, the Knapp Chair in Pediatrics, has a long-standing research interest and is an international authority on the inborn errors of metabolism and Niemann-Pick disease (NPD).

Dr. McGovern was instrumental in the launch of Stony Brook Children's Hospital, Suffolk County’s only children’s hospital, in addition to Stony Brook Children’s dedicated Pediatric Emergency Department, a robust pediatric program — 30 specialties with some 200 practicing physicians — and the construction of the new Children’s Hospital building. She has set a strategic vision and three critical missions for pediatric medicine at Stony Brook – providing expert clinical care to pediatric patients, educating medical students and residents, and providing faculty with an environment that encourages and supports innovative research.

In his introduction of Dr. McGovern, Kenneth Kaushansky, MD, Senior Vice President, Health Sciences, and Dean, Stony Brook University School of Medicine, characterized her as “one of the strongest leaders and a driving force for Stony Brook Medicine’s rising trajectory and momentum in academic medicine.” 

“Today marks the beginning of a new tradition for Stony Brook Children’s – the first in a line of investitures of committed leaders who will occupy the Knapp Chair in Pediatrics far into the future, who will speak with passion and act with conviction to improve children’s health, and serve as role models for the next generation of pediatricians,” said Dr. McGovern. “What an important tradition the Knapps have started here today. I am honored to be part of it.”

Dr. Muratore, the Knapp Swezey Chair in Pediatric Surgery, comes to Stony Brook from Hasbro Children’s Hospital, a division of Rhode Island Hospital, and Women and Infants Hospital of Rhode Island. A dedicated educator, he also served as Director for the pediatric surgery fellowship-training program at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. His areas of expertise include minimally invasive surgery, neonatal intensive care and pediatric thoracic surgery. 

“Chris is new to Stony Brook Children’s Hospital,” said Dean Kaushansky in his introduction of Dr. Muratore. “But he is a longstanding national leader in pediatric surgery and education.”

Dr. Muratore brings years of training in pediatric surgical research laboratories, investigating the fetal treatment of congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH). He is a key investigator on the FDA-sponsored investigational device exemption for in utero tracheal occlusion for severe CDH, and he collaborated locally and nationally to advance fetal treatment having served as chair of the fetal diagnosis and treatment committee of the American Pediatric Surgical Association.

The William and Jane Knapp Chair in Energy and the Environment Esther Takeuchi, PhD, is currently directing a U.S. Department of Energy $10 million Energy Frontier Research award, leading the research on alternative, environmentally friendly battery systems with powerful energy and lifespan capabilities.

Dr. Takeuchi is recognized for developing the battery technology that implanted cardiac defibrillators employ today. During his presidency, former President Barack Obama bestowed her with highest honor possible for technological achievement in the United States — the National Medal of Technology and Innovation.

The generosity of the Knapp family has impacted areas all across Stony Brook’s campus, including the arts, nursing research, alumni programming and tick-borne disease research, as well as the University’s first endowed chair in pharmacological sciences, among others. Most significant has been the Knapp’s transformative investments in children’s health, by way of an extraordinary gift in June 2016 to help build a new best-in-class children’s hospital that will transform clinical care, pediatric medical education and research at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital.

Addressing the standing-room-only audience, William Knapp revealed his family’s motivation for their philanthropy to Stony Brook.

“We have family members who would not be alive today were it not for the world-class medical care available at Stony Brook University Hospital. And we give here so the wider community can share the peace of mind that comes with having this tremendous facility here. I do not want to think about what this hospital and university would be like without philanthropic support.”

 Stony Brook Children’s Pediatric Physician Researchers Named Endowed Chairs

From left, Kenneth Kaushansky, MD, Senior Vice President, Health Sciences, and Dean, Stony Brook University School of Medicine; William Knapp ’78 and Jane Knapp ’78; Margaret M. McGovern, MD, PhD, Knapp Chair in Pediatrics; Esther S. Takeuchi, PhD, William and Jane Knapp Chair in Energy and the Environment; Christopher S. Muratore, MD, Knapp Swezey Chair in Pediatric Surgery; Michele Knapp and David Knapp; Danielle Knapp-SanGiovanni and Jesse SanGiovanni; and Samuel L. Stanley Jr., MD, Stony Brook University President.