SEPTEMBER 4, 2020 — Joe Louis Martinez Jr., founder and former director of UTSA’s Neurosciences Institute, passed away on August 29 after a long battle with liver cancer. He was 76.
Martinez was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on August 1, 1944. He received his B.A. from the University of California, San Diego; graduated with his M.S. in experimental psychology from New Mexico Highlands University in 1968; and earned his Ph.D. in physiological psychology in 1971 from the University of Delaware. He completed his postdoctoral training at the University of California, Irvine, and the Salk Institute in San Diego.
Martinez served as a professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, from 1982 to 1995. During this time he led an internationally recognized research laboratory and departed as professor emeritus.
In 1995 he joined UTSA as the Ewing Halsell Distinguished Chair in psychology. From 1995 to 2012 he was a beloved professor who founded and directed the Cajal Neuroscience Research Center, now known as the UTSA Neurosciences Institute. He oversaw the design and construction of the Biosciences Building, UTSA’s first research building. Each floor in the BSB contains tiles representing the neuroanatomical drawings of Santiago Ramon y Cajal.
During his tenure at UTSA, Martinez brought over $15 million in grant funding to the university.
In 2013 he moved to the University of Illinois at Chicago to become the chair of the department of psychology. He retired in 2016.
A passionate advocate for the advancement of underrepresented minorities in STEM, Martinez cofounded the Summer Program in Neuroscience, Ethics and Survival, a month-long course supported by the National Institutes of Health at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.
For over 20 years he codirected the American Psychological Association’s Diversity Program in Neuroscience, which supports the training of diverse doctoral and postdoctoral neuroscience students. He also led the APA’s efforts to develop a perpetual fund to provide permanent support for the training of diverse neuroscientists.
While at UTSA, Martinez mentored and graduated eight Ph.D. students—five of which were members of the underrepresented minority community.
Martinez is known for his research on the modulation of learning and memory and the role of enkephalins in learning, memory and synaptic plasticity. He published approximately 200 research articles in peer-reviewed journals and edited the book Chicano Psychology and multiple editions of The Neurobiology of Learning and Memory.
In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to the Scholarships to Enhance and Empower Diversity Fund of the American Psychological Foundation.
He received many professional awards, including election as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1995, the AAAS Mentor Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1994 and the Association for Neuroscience Departments and Programs Education Award in 2003.
He is survived by his wife of 31 years, Kimberly Smith-Martinez; children Adan Martinez and Adria Chavez; granddaughters Amaia Pilar Chavez, Aric Martinez and Ariél Martinez; siblings Inez Martinez, Carmen Martinez-Tittman and Damon Martinez; and his Great Dane, Baloo.
The Racial Justice Book Club was established at UTSA by members of the campus community to explore social justice following acts of racial violence across the nation over the last few years. We are reading The Injustice Never Leaves You: Anti-Mexican Violence in Texas by Monica Muñoz Martinez. We will meet every Wednesday in September and October at 2 pm on Zoom.Virtual Event
Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at our very own street fair - Calle UTSA. We will have activities, performances, food, music, and piñatas to break open.Student Union Paseo
"La Plática" is a space for thoughtful dialogue to build a sense of connection among the Roadrunner Community by getting to know each other better and sharing what's on our minds and about ourselves to increase to increase awareness of diverse perspectives.Virtual Event
This September 30, the Friday Series will feature Prof. Milena Ang, who will be presenting A Tren to Nowhere: Statistic Development and the Politics of Racial, a paper co-authored with Tania Islas-Weistein where they discuss Mexico's long history of state-led development projects that contribute to economic and racial inequality. The authors argue that despite professing racial justice, official discourses surrounding the Tren Maya reproduce existing symbolic and material forms of racism.McKinney Humanities (MH 4.01.01,) Main Campus
We invite you to learn about the process of screenwriting and explore the intersection of identity and pursuing dreams from Jorge Ramirez-Martinez and Raymond Perez, screenwriters for the Selena: The Series, released on Netflix. They will discuss their careers and writing process, including how their identities as Mexican American and gay men have shaped their professional experiences.Virtual Event
Please join us in remembering those who have entered the next part of life by designing a nicho box in their memory. This workshop will provide the necessary items to create your nicho box, though please remember to bring a photo or small object that can fit in a 3.5 x5x1 inch box (small jewelry box).John Peace Library GroupSpot B, Main Campus
Come celebrate the end of Hispanic Heritage Month with La Comunidad at The University of Texas at San Antonio. We will have food, games and dancing!H-E-B Student Union Ballroom 1 & 2, Main Campus
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.
We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.
UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education.
The University of Texas at San Antonio, a Hispanic Serving Institution situated in a global city that has been a crossroads of peoples and cultures for centuries, values diversity and inclusion in all aspects of university life. As an institution expressly founded to advance the education of Mexican Americans and other underserved communities, our university is committed to ending generations of discrimination and inequity. UTSA, a premier public research university, fosters academic excellence through a community of dialogue, discovery and innovation that embraces the uniqueness of each voice.