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Thomas Budinger received the B.S. in chemistry (magna cum laude, Regis College, Denver, 1954); the M.S. degree in physical oceanography (University of Washington, Seattle, 1957); the M.D. degree (gold-headed cane award, Univ. of Colo. 1964); and the Ph.D. in physical optics of electron microscopy (Univ. of Calif., Berkeley, 1971). Military service was as the International Ice patrol science officer of the U.S. Coast Guard (1957-1960). Thomas Budinger holds concurrent positions at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). At UCB, he has held the Henry Miller Research Medicine Chair (1974 –2008) and he has been professor of bioinstrumentation, electrical engineering, and computer sciences since 1976. In 2004 he completed a six-year appointment as founding chair of the department of bioengineering at Berkeley. He is also Professor Emeritus at the University of California Medical Center where he served as director of the Magnetic Resonance Science Center (1993-97). At the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, he has been Medical Research Division Director (1986–1992), Head, Center for Functional Imaging (1992-2007), and Faculty Senior Staff Scientist (1986-present). He is a member of the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Engineering where he is currently the Home Secretary.
At both Berkeley and UCSF, he has been active in undergraduate and graduate teaching and mentoring for which he received The Berkeley Citation. For imaging research he received the NIH Merit Award for Alzheimer’s Research; Distinguished Scientist Silver Medal Award from the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine; Georg Charles de Hevesy Nuclear Pioneer Award and Paul C. Aebersold Basic Science Award from the Society of Nuclear Medicine; the Ernst Jung Preis fur Medizin, Jung-Stiftung fur Wissenschaft und Forschung, Germany and the Gold Medal from the Roentgen Ray Society. Research papers are mainly on imaging technologies and applications to cardiovascular disease and mental disorders. In 2006 he authored a teaching text with his spouse on Ethics of Emerging Technologies: Scientific Facts and Moral Challenges.