Dr. Michael Kurman
As an oncologist and entrepreneur, Dr. Michael Kurman ’73 views his relationship with Syracuse University as a close and rewarding one, firmly established during his days as an undergraduate in the College of Arts and Sciences.
When he isn’t developing cutting-edge oncology products, the New Jersey resident may be found raising awareness of and support for Syracuse University’s Life Sciences Complex. “Syracuse University provided me with a special experience that has stayed with me my entire life,” says Kurman. “I want to make sure current students have this kind of opportunity, if not a better one.”
Supporting his alma mater has been a priority for Kurman, a longtime member of Syracuse’s Biology Advisory Board. In this capacity, he advises the biology department’s leadership; facilitates professional and academic connections for students, faculty, and alumni; and advocates for the department and its activities, on and off campus.
He names working on the Campaign for the Life Sciences—the largest capital project in University history—as one of his most satisfying experiences. “The Life Sciences Complex is a vital instructional facility, a major research center, and a training ground for future scientists,” says Kurman, whose company, Michael Kurman Consulting LLC, provides strategic drug development and consulting services in oncology, the branch of medicine dealing with cancer. “It’s a physical expression of the importance of the life sciences—biology, in particular—at Syracuse University.”
Kurman has spent the past two decades as a consultant to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and health care industries. After earning a bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University and an M.D. from the Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, he served as an investigator in several oncology clinical trials, before going to work for multiple pharmaceutical companies. “My primary interests are in early- and late-phase oncology clinical trial design and drug development, as well as strategic portfolio management,” says Kurman, who is board-certified in internal medicine and oncology.
He traces his interest in oncology to Professor Thomas Arygis, a Syracuse biologist who instilled in him a passion for undergraduate research and with whom he published an article on cell growth and division. “He started me on my career path in oncology and my lifelong work in trying to help patients with cancer,” he says. “I came to Syracuse University as a kid with big dreams and quickly learned those dreams were possible. I found SU academically challenging and it put me on the right path for my medical school and post-medical school training, thus laying the foundation for a very satisfying career.”