Featured Young Professional of the Month
Dr. Despina Siolas, MD, PhD of Bayside and Mattituck, New York is currently in a Medical Oncology fellowship at New York University Langone Medical Center. She completeda Research Track/Internal Medicine residency at the same center. Dr. Siolas was recently awarded the prestigious E-Trade Financial scholarship of the Hellenic Medical Society of New York, in 2010 for her performance in medical school at Stony Brook University. In addition to her MD degree, Dr. Siolas is the recipient of a Doctor of Philosophy in Genetics from the State University of New York at Stony Brook for studies she conducted in the lab of Greg Hannon, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor, at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. The title of her Dissertation was “shRNA Barcode Screens as a Tool for Discovering Gene Function.” This research showed that small RNA hairpins could be used for aiding cancer studies.
Dr. Siolas was awarded her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from St. John’s University with summa cum laude honors in 2001. She was the first student in the history of St. John’s University to be accepted in the Medical Scientist Training Program of Stony Brook University. Her mentor at St. John’s University was Rev. Robert Stephanopoulos, Ph.D., former dean of the Holy Trinity Cathedral of the Greek Archdiocese of America and adjunct faculty of Theology at St. John’s University. St. John’s University former Dean Salvatore Spizziri, a descendent of Bari, Southern Italy (where the bones of St. Nicholas of Myra are interned) encouraged her to pursue a medical career. His guidance and encouragement for her entire undergraduate years shaped her future medical career.
Dr. Shirley Strum Kenny, President of Stony Brook University, in the 2005-2006 issue of the Graduate Student Achievements (GSA), congratulated Dr. Siolas and her thesis advisor Dr. Hannon for their federally funded Breast Cancer Research Program Idea Award. This award of $500,000 was the largest given to a graduate student in 2006. She has presented papers at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) meetings and was a student member of the Physician Council for Long Range Planning of the American Medical Association (AMA). Dr. Siolas is currently a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncologists and plans on pursuing pancreatic cancer research for the remainder of her fellowship. She is the daughter of Dr. John G. Siolas and Catherine Tsounis. Her mother and late, maternal grandparents, Mr. George and Cleo Tsounis, were founders of the Transfiguration of Christ Greek Orthodox Church in Mattituck, Long Island.