Marquette Awards Highest Faculty Research Honor
Biological Sciences professor recognized for research in spinal cord function
Released: Feb. 23, 2006
MILWAUKEE – Dr. James T. Buchanan, Wehr Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences at Marquette University, has been awarded the university’s most prestigious faculty research prize, the Lawrence G. Haggerty Faculty Award for Excellence in Research. Buchanan’s pioneering research in neurophysiology, funded by more than $1.8 million in grants, has led to more than 40 publications —including a Science article while a postdoctoral student.
In conferring the award, Marquette President Robert A. Wild, S.J., reflected, “We believe that research is at its absolute best when it is infused into the learning experience we deliver to our students. We also believe that research is undertaken at Marquette ultimately to serve a world in need. We are called to use our research to address the challenges of today while forming the leaders of tomorrow.”
Buchanan’s focus is the operation of neuronal networks in organisms — the kind of networks that control speech and other processes through the nervous system — and, specifically, the motor control of locomotion. His lab utilizes the lamprey, a primitive fish that has survived millions of years relatively unchanged. Buchanan is working to understand the cellular structures that cause the spinal cord to function, findings that could ultimately lead to therapies for curing spinal cord diseases and injuries.
Buchanan is a native of Abilene, Texas. He received his bachelor’s degree in biology from Colorado College and earned his Ph.D. in neural science at Washington University in St. Louis. After serving three years as a postdoctoral fellow at Colorado State University, Buchanan joined the Nobel Institute for Neurophysiology at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. Buchanan brought his research to Marquette in 1989 and has received National Institutes of Health grants each year since to continue his work. He is a Milwaukee resident.
Four faculty members were also honored with the Way-Klingler Young Scholars Award. Dr. Jane E. Dorweiler, assistant professor of biological sciences; Dr. Kristin Haglund, assistant professor of nursing; Dr. Debra L. Oswald, assistant professor of psychology; and Dr. Daniel S. Sem, assistant professor of chemistry, received the awards, for which each will receive a one-semester sabbatical. The awards are part of the Way Klingler Faculty Development Program made possible by the generosity of Helen Way Klingler, whose $18 million donation to Marquette was announced in May 2004.
***Photos of Dr. Buchanan, the other award and the award ceremony are available upon request.***
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