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News & Events

of the Peripheral Nerve Society

Memorial Announcement: Mary B. Bunge, PhD

Mar 13, 2024 | News & Events

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Mary Bartlett Bunge on February 17, 2024. Dr. Bunge was a giant in peripheral nerve and glial biology research who made many seminal contributions, many together with Richard Bunge, her late husband and scientific collaborator. Her pioneering use of electron microscopy provided beautiful, and by now classic descriptions of the architecture of the central myelin sheath. She also provided the first descriptions of the connection of the myelin sheath to developing oligodendrocytes and of CNS remyelination by oligodendrocytes. Their work together also led to a series of fundamental discoveries of Schwann cell biology including the critical role of extracellular matrix in PNS development. At the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis where they moved in 1988, Dr. Bunge pioneered the use of Schwann cell transplantation, combined with adjuvant pharmacology, as a therapeutic approach to spinal cord injury for which she was a tireless advocate. Dr. Bunge was the recipient of many honors for her contributions, including election to the National Academy of Medicine.

Dr. Bunge was also a role model and mentor – devoted to supporting the advancement of women neuroscientists throughout her career. Her mentorship and passion for research inspired a host of trainees and colleagues. Dr. Bunge coupled her legacy of scientific discoveries and training with great integrity, dignity and personal warmth. She will be sorely missed.

The PNS plans to honor her at our upcoming meeting in Montréal, during the Richard & Mary Bunge lecture held on Sunday, 23 June 2024.