Indian American couple, Kavita and Lalit Bahl had donated two generous gifts totaling $13.75 million, according to the university news release. And now, the Stony Brook University Cancer Center unveiled a transformative cancer research center, a state-of-the-art facility, named the Kavita and Lalit Bahl Center for Metabolomics and Imaging, last month at the Stony Brook University Hospital.
The new facility will enable experts to probe the metabolic dynamics of tumors and pioneer new approaches in cancer research, detection, treatment and prevention, the university said in a statement. Lalit Bahl is an employee of East Setauket, N.Y.-based Renaissance Technologies.
“Through continual research and discovery, Stony Brook is on the leading edge of discovering the next generation in cancer care,” said university president Dr. Samuel L. Stanley Jr. in a statement. “One of our most ambitious goals is to make significant breakthroughs in cancer research.”
Added Dr. Yusuf A. Hannun, director of the Stony Brook University Cancer Center, “Today is a momentous occasion for the Cancer Center.” Hannun, in expressing his gratitude to the Bahls, said the center is ideal “because it capitalizes on Stony Brook University’s strengths in three major areas: research, treatment and imaging.”
Lalit Bahl explained his family’s personal motivation for propelling cancer research forward in the unveiling, according to the report. “Cancer has claimed a very large number of people in my family,” he said. “It is really what drives us to get us involved in the center. In our lifetime, we have seen a lot of progress in cancer treatment but there is a still long way to go toward the final goal that nobody should die from cancer. It is really toward this goal that we hope and also expect this center to provide new discoveries and new treatments that will get us closer and closer to where we want to be.”
Hannun and Dr. Lina M. Obeid, dean for research at the Stony Brook University School of Medicine, will serve as co-directors of the Bahl Center. “Drs. Hannun and Obeid have a very long record of research in cancer, and we are thrilled to be able to support their work at Stony Brook,” said Kavita Bahl. “Our hope is that metabolomics and imaging research will result in significant progress toward finding new treatments.”
Current Stony Brook University School of Medicine laboratories and other university scientific laboratories will conduct research for the center. Permanent physical space for the center and its laboratories will be located in the Medical and Research Translation building upon opening of the MART in 2018.
Additional initiatives supported by the Bahls’ gift include an Innovation Award for pilot projects that study the role of nutrition in preventing and treating disease, and an Experimental Therapeutics Program that will focus on ways to accelerate the trajectory of research from the bench to the bedside.