John A. Thomas
58MA, 61PhD

Achievement 1997

John A. Thomas, 58MS, 61 PhD, is an innovative educator, researcher, administrator, and scientist whose varied career paths in his 30 years as a health professional have earned him a reputation of quiet brilliance.

Currently vice president of academic services at the University of Texas Health Center at San Antonio, Thomas is recognized by colleagues and peers from around the world as one of the foremost specialists in the field of endocrine pharmacology and toxicology. In 1995, he became only the ninth American to be elected to the prestigious Russian Academy of Medical Sciences in Moscow for his pioneering work in those fields. He has also received numerous national professional awards and has held offices in several scientific societies.

Thomas's research in reproductive toxicology and endocrine pharmacology is highly regarded, and his references and studies are most frequently cited in the field. Early in his career, Thomas established clear and firmly articulated goals for his research projects, many of which would later be supported by numerous academic and private institutions. The success of Thomas's research has resulted in the publication of nearly 400 scientific articles, research monographs, and several textbooks that detail his impressive work with what a colleague has called "impeccable clarity." Indeed, Thomas's extensive list of publications demonstrates his ability to render complex research in lay terms, thus broadening the audience for his important discoveries about the actions of drugs and chemicals on the reproductive system.

From 1982-78, Thomas was vice president of corporate research at Baxter Healthcare in Deerfield, Illinois, where he bridged academia and industry with much success and recognition. During his tenure at Baxter, Thomas was responsible for a range of research from new drug developments in biotechnology to the safety of medical devices, and he quickly established Baxter as an industry leader in the field.

Former dean of the School of Medicine at West Virginia University, he held pharmacology and toxicology professorships at several academic institutions, including the University of Virginia, Creighton University, and West Virginia University.

One of the most conspicuous hallmarks of Thomas's career is his reputation as an outstanding educator and mentor. He has been repeatedly honored for medical teaching excellence, and many of his graduate students in the biomedical sciences have progressed to successfully assume significant responsibilities with academic institutions and industry.

Considered a consummate gentleman by those who know him best, Thomas has honed a reputation as a professional who demands the highest ethical standards from himself and from his associates. His involvement as a founding officer of the Texas Society of Biomedical Research, an educational corporation that supports the humane use of animals in research, is an example of Thomas's ethics at work.

Thomas is a member of the UI Alumni Association's Old Capital Club.