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Dr. Matthew J. Wayner Jr., former director of Life Sciences, dies at 92

Dr. Matthew J. Wayner Jr., former director of Life Sciences, dies at 92


JUNE 23, 2020Matthew J. Wayner Jr., former director of the Division of Life Sciences at UTSA and founder of the International Behavioral Neuroscience Society, passed away on June 4, 2020. He was 92.

Born in Clifton, New Jersey, Dr. Wayner (“Matt”) dedicated his life to science and education. He graduated with his bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth University in 1949 and earned his doctoral degree in psychology from the University of Illinois. He served honorably in the U.S. Navy, training as a pilot in the Korean War. Prior to joining UTSA in 1983, Dr. Wayner researched the physiologic basis of behavior at Syracuse University. From 1963 to 1977 he served as a visiting professor at five universities around the world, including Florida State University, Kanazawa University in Japan, La Trobe University in Australia and National Defense Medical Center in China.

As the director of the Division of Life Sciences at UTSA, Dr. Wayner propelled the university toward its future as a premier public research university. Together with his colleagues in biology and biotechnology, he attracted one of the four initial contracts awarded by the then-new Division of Biotechnology, U.S. Army Chemical Research and Development Center. He believed that collaboration produced better results in the lab and frequently worked with researchers around the world and in the San Antonio community, including Southwest Research Institute and the Air Force Human Resources Laboratory of Brooks Air Force Base.

A passionate advocate for students, he was instrumental in encouraging the Cancer Federation, a nonprofit agency established to raise funds for cancer immunology research and college scholarships, to begin giving awards to students in San Antonio. He played a pivotal role in establishing the university’s first Ph.D. program, in biology, with the first students accepted into the program in 1992.

Dr. Wayner was the first recipient of the Jane and Roland Blumberg Professorship in Biology. During his time at UTSA he was a member of the American Physiological Association, the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, the International Brain Research Organization, and the New York Academy of Sciences. He was editor in chief of four science journals and served on the editorial board of five other science journals. He was a fellow of both the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Psychological Association.

Dr. Wayner was preceded in death by Therese Maria Wayner, his wife of nearly 70 years. He is survived by three children and two grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, Dr. Wayner’s family encourages his colleagues and friends to send charitable donations in his name to the International Behavioral Neuroscience Society.

Lauren Moriarty

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