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Karl L. Magleby, Ph.D., Wins 2009-10 Provostís Award for Scholarly Activity

3/30/2010

In recognition of his breakthrough research on the nervous system, Karl L. Magleby, Ph.D., professor and chair of physiology and biophysics, is a recipient of the 2009-10 Provost’s Award for Scholarly Activity.

Thomas J. LeBlanc, Ph.D., executive vice president and provost, officially presented Magleby with the award at a luncheon held Monday in his honor and that of the two other recipients. He was nominated for the award by Miller School Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D.

“It is an honor to be recognized for my work,” said Dr. Magleby, whose research has been consistently funded by the NIH for more than 30 years.

Dr. Magleby, who said he would use the $5,000 that accompanies the Provost’s Award to continue his research, and to purchase a special note pad teaching computer for his department, has been a member of the faculty since 1971, and chair since 1992.

Over the past 20 years, he and his team of students and post-docs developed techniques that changed how electrophysiologists study the activity of ion channels, which are proteins that form pores in the membranes of cells. It is the functioning of these channels that generates the electrical activity of nerve and muscle cells. He and his team discovered and characterized five different ion channels and developed kinetic gating mechanisms to describe how the channels function. 

Dr. Magleby's earlier work on the signals sent by nerve cells to muscle cells also contributed to our understanding of synaptic transmission and short-term synaptic plasticity. Although Dr. Magleby's work is basic in nature, the contributions from his laboratory have played important roles in characterizing synaptic transmission in normal function and in various disease processes.  

In 2009, he was awarded the prestigious Kenneth S. Cole Award for Contributions to Membrane Biophysics in recognition of his outstanding scientific achievements.

Joining Dr. Magleby at Monday’s luncheon in the President’s boardroom were fellow Provost Award recipients Colin McGinn, B.Phil., and Peter Swart, Ph.D. McGinn, professor of philosophy, is considered one of the world’s most distinguished philosophers writing in English. Swart, professor and chair of marine geology and geophysics, pioneered the use of scleractinian corals to assess environmental conditions.

David Birnbach, M.D., M.P.H., vice provost for faculty affairs, chaired this year’s selection committee, which included Richard Bookman, Ph.D., vice provost for research, and executive dean for research and research training, and three past recipients, Glen Barber, Ph.D., professor of microbiology and immunology and co-leader of the Viral Oncology Program at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center; Okhee Lee, Ph.D., professor of teaching and learning; and Yadong Luo, Ph.D., professor of management.