Vincent Yang has been named Chair of the Department of Medicine; he will officially join the Department on September 1. He comes from Emory University, where he serves as the R. Bruce Logue Professor of Medicine and Director of the Division of Digestive Diseases, and holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology of the Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University.
“Vince is an ideal individual to lead the Stony Brook University Department of Medicine,” said Kenneth Kaushansky, Dean of the School of Medicine and Senior Vice President of Health Sciences. “He hopes to grow our clinical programs, our teaching effectiveness, and our research programs. With his background in the origins of GI malignancy, his scholarly and clinical work bridges two of the strategic goals of the School of Medicine, gastrointestinal disorders and cancer. And with his background in building a very successful Division of Digestive Diseases and mentoring learners and young faculty members, he is an ideal individual to enhance the excellence that already exists in the Department.”
Yang grew up in Taiwan, receiving his bachelor’s degree in agricultural chemistry from the National Taiwan University in Taipei, and emigrated to the United States in 1976 for graduate studies, receiving his Ph.D. in biochemical sciences from Princeton University and his M.D. from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. He then served as an intern and resident in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and remained at Hopkins for his fellowship in gastroenterology.
After completing his research fellowship in 1989, Yang joined the Hopkins faculty, rising to associate professor of medicine and biological chemistry, and then moved ten years ago to Emory, where he rose to professor and assumed his administrative role, heading the Division of Digestive Diseases.
Yang’s research interests focus on understanding the molecular mechanisms that control proliferation and differentiation of intestinal epithelial cells and how these processes are perturbed in gastrointestinal malignancies. In recent years his lab has concentrated on the roles played by a number of Krüppel-like transcription factors in regulating the growth of the gut epithelium. In support of his work, Yang serves as principal investigator on three major NIH research grants and as co-investigator on several others. As an additional measure of his research productivity, he has contributed to more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific publications, and to more than 50 other books, reviews, and editorials.
As a teacher, Yang also excels. He routinely teaches medical and graduate students, medicine residents, and gastrointestinal fellows in academic medicine, GI physiology, cancer biology, and genetics. He has mentored numerous GI fellows, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and residents in his laboratory. Many of his former mentees are now established academicians in their own rights. He has received several awards for his teaching contributions, including the Silver Pear Mentoring Award from his department and the “One-in-One Hundred” Outstanding Postdoctoral Fellow Mentoring Award from the Emory School of Medicine. He is a member of several graduate programs at Emory.
Yang is also an outstanding clinician, serving as an attending physician on the GI service, both inpatient and outpatient, at Emory School of Medicine Hospitals and Clinics, as well as attending weekly in the GI procedure suite. His clinical interest is focused on hereditary colon cancer syndromes and he works closely with national organizations to establish guidelines for the genetic epidemiology of such diseases.
In the realm of service, Yang has also excelled. In addition to committees in his own institution, he has served on a large number of NIH review committees, including chair of the Gastrointestinal Cellular and Molecular Biology Study Section and for many years on the VA Medical Research Service Merit Review Subcommittee for Gastroenterology and for Oncology. He also serves on many editorial boards and is associate editor of Clinical and Translational Science, senior editor of American Journal of Cancer Research, and senior associate editor of Gastroenterology. He has continuously been involved in various committees of the American Gastroenterological Association and was recently elected to its governing board as the Basic Science Councillor.
At Emory, Yang has significantly enhanced the academic reputation of its digestive diseases division. Under his tenure, he recruited 30 new faculty members and an equal number of research staff to the division, including six physician scientists. Grant fundings in his division in FY2010 topped $6 million and included more than 20 NIH and VA grants and 10 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act awards. He is principal investigator of an NIH-funded Digestive Diseases Research Development Center grant, which provides core services to a group of 35 independently funded Emory
investigators in digestive disease research across seven different departments. Also, under his management, the gastroenterology service at Emory Healthcare enjoys a robust and stable clinical practice, and its net asset flows ranks sixth out of 45 different service lines in the system. Finally, Yang oversees a vibrant GI fellowship training program and served as its program director for a number of years during his tenure.
Because of all of these attributes and skills, he has been elected to the two most prestigious honor societies devoted to clinical investigation in the U.S., the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians.