Thomas (Roy) Corbett, 41, who was a leader in the field of psychopharmacology, died suddenly at his home in Hoboken, New Jersey in January 2001. Roy was well respected by both his colleagues and the scientific community. He was known for his great sense of humor and his laid back attitude for life. An avid outdoorsman, he enjoyed skiing, running, golfing, and fly-fishing. Roy also enjoyed a good pint at the end of the day!
Roy started his scientific career at the National University of Ireland, Galway obtaining both a bachelors in biochemistry (1981) and a doctorate in pharmacology (1987) under the supervision of Professor Brian Leonard. He won a European young scientist award in 1984 and was awarded a European Brain and Behavioral travel scholarship in 1985. Like many of his contemporaries in the economically depressed mid-1980’s Roy was forced to emigrate but he never lost touch with Ireland and maintained a keen interest in all things Irish. Roy traveled to France as a post-doctoral fellow in 1988. His passion for science led him to the US in 1989, where he accepted a position with Hoechst Roussel Pharmaceuticals (now known as Aventis), in Bridgewater, New Jersey. This was an expansive phase of Roy’s career where his intellect and tenacious attitude helped forge new insights into the mechanisms of action and potential therapies for brain disorders. As a senior scientist and lab head at Aventis, it was Roy's responsibility to coordinate the generation of timely and reliable data which was essential to guide the selection and advancement of drug candidates. He was always a hands-on scientist and was never a stranger to laboratory work. His dedication to drug discovery and development is reflected in both his excellent reputation with his colleagues throughout Aventis and with colleagues in other pharmaceutical companies and universities. As the leader of several drug discovery projects, Roy's ability to communicate clearly, think strategically, and to motivate his interdisciplinary team members with enthusiasm, respect and appreciation for their efforts were his strongest assets. His dedication to drug discovery and development was reflected in both his excellent reputation with his colleagues throughout Aventis and other pharmaceutical companies, and in the number of development candidates his teams have generated.
Roy was an author on over 50 peer reviewed publications in the field of brain disorders and was involved in numerous scientific collaborations, with the likes of world-renowned scientists; Professors Hubert H. van Tol, Philip Seeman, Patricia Goldman-Rakic, and Nobel laureates Paul Greengard and Arvid Carlsson. His publications helped Aventis and its legacy companies maintain an international reputation for cutting-edge research. He was also awarded an U.S. and European patent in 1992 for treating anxiety with a glycine antagonist. Roy’s contribution to the scientific community, particularly in the field of schizophrenia, will be missed enormously. Indeed Roy the man, the scientist, the friend and the Irish rover will be missed by one and all who knew him.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a h-ainm
(May his soul be at the right hand of God - old gaelic saying)