The Duke Tanaka Jr Anatomy Scholarship is established in memory of Duke Tanaka Jr by Tim Strickler, Professor of Anatomy at Grand Valley State University, a fellow graduate student with Duke in the Department of Anatomy at the University of Chicago from 1968 to 1972, and a close friend until his death in 1998.
Duke had a quiet pride and passion for his profession as an anatomist and as a neuroscientist. He was an active contributor and integral member of the Department of Anatomy at Michigan State University. To those who worked with him, he was a friend, colleague, and collaborator. Duke was always available to listen to and help the students, faculty and staff of the department. He was a resource for insight, knowledge or a solution to a problem. It was valuable to get ‘his take on things’ as his ideas, plans or solutions were always without personal agendas. His colleagues came to rely upon him for thorough, conscientious and constructively critical review of manuscripts and documents.
Duke is remembered for numerous achievements and distinctions, but the three aspects of his career that meant the most to him were his dedication to his science, his teaching, and his contributions to the MSU Department of Anatomy. Duke’s 1974 Brain Research article using a modification of the Fink-Heimer technique has been cited numerous times and serves as a hallmark of his later neurotoxicology work. In his short life, Duke had over 95 publications including: journal articles, book chapters, symposia, abstracts and presentations at national and international scientific meetings. In addition to his neurotoxicology work Duke studied the prefrontal cortex in monkeys, canine basal ganglia, cortical connections and synaptic morphology. He received over 22 individual grants for his research, and mentored many successful and accomplished graduate students. Duke also served in many scientific professional organizations.
Picture: Tim Stickler on left, Duke Tanaka on right