Shilpa Buch, Ph.D., is UNMC's 10th Scientist Laureate

by John Keenan, UNMC public relations | February 11, 2016

Image with caption: Shilpa Buch, Ph.D.

Shilpa Buch, Ph.D.

Shilpa Buch, Ph.D., is enjoying the ride. "Science is a joyous obsession. I'm actually being paid to have fun," she chuckles.

A hidden jewel

Dr. Buch calls UNMC a "hidden jewel" that is coming of age.

"I knew that the HIV program here at UNMC was second to none, which was the impetus for my decision to move from Kansas," she said. "What surprised me was that there was so much more -- the collegial scientific environment, the infrastructure, state-of-the-art research and a commitment to improve health outcomes for all. I feel very settled and at the same time very charged in this dynamic scientific environment.

"UNMC fosters a robust research environment," she said. "We are in the process of recruiting, building and growing, when some of the top Institutes are actually facing a mass exodus due to the drying of NIH funds. Our strengths are our vision and our collaborative and multidisciplinary research where innovation fuels discovery. We are at the forefront of HIV research, transplantation medicine, developmental neuroscience, genomics and cancer among others. These are exciting times for all. It is the strong leadership with a vision for the future that forms the basis for fostering this dynamic environment."

Well, not really. Dr Buch is being paid to be a top-notch researcher, something she has done so well that she will be honored today as UNMC's 10th Scientist Laureate. The ceremony will begin at 4 p.m. at the Durham Research Center Auditorium.

"Clearly, this award is not just for me," Dr. Buch said. "It is an award I proudly share with my team. Without their tenacious diligence and hard work, this honor would not have been possible."

There's no doubt Dr. Buch's team is as good as she says. But as she accepts the highest honor awarded to researchers by UNMC, Dr. Buch was lauded by university leaders for her vision, leadership and innovation.

"The imprint she has made in science and in mentoring has just begun," said Howard Gendelman, M.D., chair of the UNMC Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience.

It's been seven years since Dr. Buch, a professor of pharmacology and experimental neuroscience in the College of Medicine and director of The Nebraska Center for Substance Abuse Research, joined UNMC, and her impact has been palpable.

"She is the epitome of what the scientist laureate award is intended to recognize," said Brad Britigan, M.D., dean of the UNMC College of Medicine.

Dr. Buch credits her parents for instilling in her the ethics of hard work and perseverance that led to her success.

"To this day my mother continues to work and when asked to slow down, chides, 'Hey you've got to have a purpose to wake up in the morning, get dressed and be present,'" she said. "So the spirit of working hard was already encoded in my DNA long before I was born."

And it was nurtured, she said, by "many that I met along the way. As the saying goes, 'It takes a village ...' I am blessed to have a terrific family who is my critic as well as my personal therapist, terrific mentors as role models, great colleagues to bounce ideas, and of course close friends that are my lifeline. Each and every one, in their own unique way, has been a source of inspiration and an anchor in my life."

The Awards Ceremony

The awards ceremony honoring this year's research awardees is open to the entire UNMC/Nebraska Medicine community.

When: 4 p.m., Feb. 11

Where: Durham Research Center Auditorium

Who: Award recipients include:

New Investigators

Distinguished Scientists

Community Service to Research Award

Research Leadership Award honorees


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Farida Damani
March 14, 2016 at 11:40 AM

Heartiest Congratulations 🌷💕

Jyoti/ Jhulan Mukharji
February 11, 2016 at 4:48 PM

Shilpa Buch, you make all of us proud . Your work is incredible & a huge gift to humanity. In a very competitive environment, it's not easy to dream big but my friend you have done it. Our best and much love now & always. Jyoti/ Jhulan

Aileen Warren
February 11, 2016 at 10:45 AM

Congratulations to all of the awardees!

Guru Pendyala
February 11, 2016 at 7:03 AM

Congratulations !