“Outstanding Leadership, Mentoring, and Service” awarded to Dr Gary Dunbar from Central Michigan University.
By: Bhairavi Srinageshwar
Dr. Gary Dunbar, Professor, Psychology and Neuroscience Program from Central Michigan University and a past President of MiSfN received the prestigious “Outstanding Leadership, Mentoring, and Service” award from the MiSfN chapter during its annual meeting in August 2022. Dr. Dunbar’s lab (Field Neurosciences Institute Laboratory for Restorative Neurology) at CMU focuses on exploring the use of stem cells and nutraceuticals for treating Huntington’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, spinal cord injury and glioblastoma in preclinical models. He has mentored over 3000 undergraduate students and more than 100 graduate in his exemplary career spanning over 40 years.
Dr. Dunbar has been associated with the MiSfN chapter for the past 35 years, he is one of the oldest members of the chapter and he has witnessed the outstanding efforts put in by the chapter and its members towards supporting junior faculties as well as graduate and undergraduate students. “I was very surprised and moved when given this award. It means a lot to me because I have been involved with MISFN since Glen Hatton from MSU invited me to join back in the late 1980s. The MISFN is the first chapter of the SfN and has a rich history of supporting students and junior faculty, a tradition that I have embraced and tried to emulate during my career at CMU and my tenure as a Councilor, former-Secretary, and former-President of MISFN” he said.
Dr. Dunbar was involved in establishing and incorporating the undergraduate poster award at the MiSfN annual meetings and along with Dr. Lisa Baker from Western Michigan University, in including Central Michigan University and Western Michigan University as members of this chapter. Reflecting on the growth of the Chapter Dr. Dunbar commented, “I am thrilled to view so many outstanding posters from undergraduates from so many colleges and universities around the state and to witness the growth of the chapter to include expanded faculty participation in leadership roles.” The Michigan Chapter recently received the outstanding chapter award from the Society for Neuroscience for its outreach events. Dr. Dunbar reflects on this achievement by indicating that: “Our chapter is engaged in meaningful outreach activities and is vibrant in its promotion of diversity and involving a large number of researchers and students in our annual meetings. A chapter is only as good as its members, and the MiSfN clearly has a cadre of devoted members who are eager to carry on the rich traditions of our chapter. I am so proud to be a member of such a wonderful group of colleagues and students who selflessly dedicate their time and efforts to MISFN. It is especially heartwarming to be a part of an organization so dedicated to our students, all of whom are incredibly enriched because of these efforts. I am incredibly grateful for my MISFN colleagues and their commitment to making our chapter the best it can be.”
The MiSfN has some of his past students and collaborators such as Dr. Jessica Matchynski and Dr. Julien Rossignol in prominent positions. Dr. Matchynski is the past President for MiSfN and Dr Julien Rossignol is a councilor from Central Michigan University. “I am especially proud of the wonderful job that Jessica Matchynski from Rochester College did in guiding the MISFN through the pandemic as the MISFN President, and I can't say enough about Julien Rossignol, who, like many of our MISFN Councilors, devoted an enormous amount of time and energy to make our annual meeting successful” he says.
Dr. Julien Rossignol who played a key role in initiating this award mentioned, “Dr. Dunbar is an active member of the MiSfN Chapter, he is an outstanding member of the chapter reflected by all his actions and involvement in the chapter activity. Dr. Dunbar highly deserves this recognition for all his work with students and peers, for the great mentoring that he provides, to the leadership he exhibits. From the beginning, this was one of Dr. Dunbar’s visions to showcase all the excellent studies performed by undergraduate students in the laboratory. Dr. Dunbar is a model for the generation of neuroscientists in Michigan to come.”
Dr. Dunbar fondly remembers his earlier days as a member of the MiSfN, he says, “The encouragement I have received as a junior faculty member from such wonderful mentors as Glen Hatton, Monty Piercy, Matt Galloway, Peter Cobbett, and Keith Lookingland, and from so many other good friends and colleagues throughout the years, all of whom will always remain a cherished part of my career.”