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Jon Mukand

Graduation Year: 
1980
Award Year: 
2006

Jon Mukand graduated from UMM in 1980, receiving a bachelor of arts in chemistry and English. He earned a master of arts in English from Stanford University in 1985, a doctor of medicine degree from Medical College of Wisconsin in 1985, and a doctorate in English literature from Brown University in 1995. Mukand is a poet, author, researcher, and a physician specializing in rehabilitation medicine (physiatrist).

Mukand is currently principle investigator for the BrainGate Neural Interface System, which seeks to improve the quality of life for paralyzed patients by increasing independence. A silicon chip implanted on the surface of the brain records electrical activity that is transmitted to a computer that decodes and translates the signals allowing the patient to perform simple tasks via a second computer.

A love of literature and medicine merge in Mukand's poetry. In addition to authoring numerous scientific articles and editing two textbooks, Sutured Words: Contemporary Poetry about Medicine and Vital Lines: Contemporary Fiction about Medicine , he has published several poems, including: "Offering," "Revisions of a Medical Record," and "Oxygen."

Dwight Purdy, professor emeritus of English, one of Mukand's nominators states: "So far as I know, he [Mukand] is the only published and respected poet to publish extensively, too, in medicine. Some like William Carlos Williams, have been practicing physicians who published volumes of poetry. But Mukand is alone, I think, as a poet publishing widely in a scientific field. And although I am not qualified to speak about his scientific work, it seems to me consistent in its creative, cutting edge research with Mukand the poet. His work on quadriplegia and the structure of the brain might well be called a form of poetry."

Mukand is medical director at the Southern New England Rehabilitation Center and serves as an assistant professor at Boston University and Tufts University.

(From the 2006 news story)

Jon Mukand