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Scott Thompson, PhD, Has Been Appointed Interim Chair of the Department of Physiology

Friday, July 01, 2011

 Scott Thompson, PhD, is now heading the Department of Physiology.

E. Albert Reece, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, has appointed Scott M. Thompson, Ph.D., as interim chair of the Department of Physiology. Dr. Thompson, a professor of the physiology, has been a member of the department since 1998 and professor since 2004. He replaces Meredith Bond, Ph.D., who will become the next Dean of the College of Sciences and Health Professions at Cleveland State University.

“Dr. Thompson will bring strong leadership skills and tremendous energy to this role, and he will continue the outstanding work of our two previous chairs, Dr. Meredith Bond and Dr. Mordecai Blaustein,” says Dean Reece, who is also vice president for medical affairs at the University of Maryland and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor at the School of Medicine. “At the appropriate time, I will launch a search for a permanent chair.”

Dr. Thompson received a B.S. in Biological Sciences from Cornell University in 1979 and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Stanford University in 1986. He then received a NATO Fellowship to study in Switzerland, where he worked first at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel (1986-1987) and then the Brain Research Institute of the University of Zurich (1987-1988). He completed his postdoctoral training in the Department of Neurology at Columbia University (1988-1990). In 1990, Dr. Thompson was recruited to become an assistant professor at the Brain Research Institute in Basel, Switzerland.

In 1993, the University of Zurich awarded Dr. Thompson his Habilitation, a tradition dating back to the Middle Ages and the highest academic qualification a scholar can achieve in several European and Asian countries.  Habilitation requires the candidate to write a thesis based upon independent scholarship, reviewed by and defended before an academic committee that incorporates reviews of the candidate’s scholarly achievements by international experts. The level of scholarship has to be considerably higher than that required for a research doctoral thesis in terms of quality and quantity.

Dr. Thompson has received several major awards for his outstanding research, including the Demuth Medical Research Foundation International Award (1993), the Hildegard Doerenkamp-Gerhard Zbinden Foundation Award (1994-1995), the Gian Töndury Prize (1995), and the Robert Bing Prize (1996).

He is currently principal investigator on grants from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) with total funding of $3.3 million. Dr. Thompson has authored 75 articles, 15 of which he served as primary author.  His articles have appeared in premier peer-reviewed journals including the Journal of Neurophysiology; the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA; the Journal of Neuroscience; and Nature. He is an invited lecturer nationally and internationally, and he is actively involved in the training and mentoring of Ph.D. candidates.

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