Half-million-dollar gift creates Buehler Biomed Imaging Center at DPU

Tuesday, October 9, 2018
Celebrating a $527,000 grant to DePauw University to establish the Buehler Biomedical Imaging Center is celebrated by (from left) Professors Melissa Petreaca and Pascal Lafontant, Buehler Family Foundation President A.C. Buehler and DePauw President Mark McCoy.
Courtesy photo

DePauw University students conducting research will have access to cutting-edge light and electron microscopes as they study regeneration biology, wound healing and the neuroscience of addiction, thanks to a three-year, $527,000 grant from the family foundation of an alumnus.

The grant to create the Buehler Biomedical Imaging Center was made possible by the Buehler Family Foundation and its president, A.C. Buehler III, a 1978 DePauw graduate.

The center will be located in the F.W. Olin Biological Sciences building and available for faculty and students to conduct research in class or during the summer and to participants in the Science Research Fellows Program.

The grant proposal was a team effort led by Pascal Lafontant, associate professor of biology; Melissa Petreaca, assistant professor of biology; Wendy Tomamichel, biology laboratory manager; Jim Mills, professor of geosciences; and Dan Gurnon, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry and director of the Science Research Fellows Program.

“The establishment of the Buehler Biomedical Imaging Center recognizes and supports the high-impact practice of faculty engaging students in original research -- a pillar of the DePauw experience,” said Lafontant, who will serve as the center’s principal investigator. “In the past decade, the expansion of DePauw’s research infrastructure and the enhancement of undergraduate research in our biology department have prepared students for success in graduate school and medical programs and have yielded a substantial number of student research presentations and national awards. Allowing our students to have hands-on access to this equipment will further enhance those opportunities.”

The center will provide support in four areas: Regeneration biology; the biology of inflammation; wound healing and repair; and the neuroscience of behavior and addiction. It also will broadly support interdisciplinary projects with the departments of geosciences (high-resolution imaging and elemental analysis of minerals); physics and astronomy (high-resolution imaging and elemental analysis of meteorites); and chemistry and biochemistry (molecular basis of rare diseases). Its resources also may be used by the classical studies, art and art history departments for analysis of art and archaeological artifacts.

“The center will be unique among the Great Lake Colleges Association in the Midwest and among national liberal arts institutions, and provides access to cutting-edge technologies typically available at major research institutions,” said Petreaca, the co-principal investigator.

Buehler, who visited campus in early October, said the foundation was “pleased to partner with DePauw University in providing opportunities usually available at the graduate level to undergraduate students.”

Buehler majored in economics at DePauw and in 1980 earned a master of management degree from Northwestern University. He is the parent of three children, including Elisabeth Halquist Buehler, DPU Class of 2011.

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