Women at the Medical University of South Carolina

Maria G. Buse, M.D.

Maria G. Buse, M.D., circa 1957
Maria G. Buse, M.D., circa 1957
 
Waring Historical Library, MUSC, Charleston
Maria G. Buse, M.D.
Maria G. Buse, M.D., circa 2003
 
Waring Historical Library, MUSC, Charleston

First female recipient of the Distinguished University Professor award, 2003

Co-founder of the Department of Endocrinology, 1957

Founder of the Division of Nuclear Medicine, 1957

Maria G. Buse, M.D., was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1927.  After completing a year of medical school at the Pazmany Peter University School of Medicine, Buse transferred to Switzerland's University of Basel School of Medicine.  As a foreigner, Buse could obtain a medical degree but not a license to practice medicine in Switzerland at that time.  With the help of an uncle living in Buenos Aires, Buse and her mother obtained visas to Argentina.  Buse completed her medical education and in 1956 graduated from the University of Buenos Aires School of Medicine. 

While in Argentina, Dr. Buse worked in research with Nobel Laureate in physiology, Bernardo Houssay, M.D., and Drs. Carlos Rapela and Eduardo Braun Menendez.  Upon completing these assignments, Dr. Houssay arranged a fellowship in medicine for Dr. Buse with the University of Pennsylvania Hospital and Cox Institute.  It was during her time in Pennsylvania that Dr. Buse met and married, Dr. John Buse, a native of Charleston.  They moved to Charleston in 1957 and both joined the faculty of the Department of Medicine in the College of Medicine.

Initially unable to obtain a medical license in South Carolina until 1960, Dr. Buse turned her attention to research.  As a research associate in the Department of Medicine, Dr. Buse co-founded the department of endocrinology with her husband, and established the Nuclear Medicine Department and served as its director until 1983.  Her areas of research include diabetes, insulin resistance and insulin receptor regulation and other topics in endocrinology.  Within ten years of joining the Medical College, Dr. Buse had risen to the position of associate professor and in 1972 and 1974, respectively, she was promoted to professor of medicine and biochemistry. 

Over the course of her fifty-plus years of service to MUSC, Dr. Buse has earned many honors and awards.  Among them are The American Diabetes Association Albert Renold Award (2003), Health Science Foundation Distinguished Faculty Service Award (1998), and the Governor's Award for Excellence in Science Research (1996). MUSC awarded Dr. Buse with its Distinguished University Professor Award in 2003.  She was the first female recipient of that award at MUSC. Dr. Buse received the College of Medicine's Honorary Alumnus Award in 2008.  Finally, Dr. Buse is believed to hold one of the longest running NIH grants in the country.