Tomas A. Reader
It is with deep emotion that we inform you of the passing away of our friend and colleague, Dr. Tomás A.Reader, professor at the Department of Physiology and member of the Center for Research in Neurological Sciences (CRSN) at Université de Montréal. He was also an accredited professor in the Department of Psychiatry, a member of the Fernand-Seguin Research Center at Louis-H. Lafontaine Hospital, and an affiliate member of the Hôtel-Dieu Hospital Research Center in Montreal.
Following medical school, Tom worked on the visual system with Dr. Eduardo de Robertis in Buenos Aires; he then pursued studies as a postdoctoral fellow, still with de Robertis, on the pharmacology and the biophysics of the cholinergic postsynaptic membranes. He passed away on May 7, 2002 midway through a CRSN symposium on Acetylcholine. Once in Montreal, Tom continued his studies of monoamines in the visual system with Dr H.H. Jasper. An important part of his career at Université de Montréal centered on the role of biogenic amines in the cerebral cortex, from the perspectives of electrophysiology, neuroanatomy and neuropharmacology. During the last 5 years, Tom collaborated with Serge Rossignol on projects dealing with changes in monoamines in the spinal cord, following spinalization.
Throughout his career, Tom was incomparable in many ways. In the area of teaching, he was always very involved, not only in our medical and physiology training programs, but in our graduate studies program in neurological sciences. Because of his dual background in medicine and in research, his was a functional perspective on the brain, and one which he could communicate expertly to very appreciative students. He was a prolific researcher within our department, with close to 130 scientific articles and several hundred abstracts published in the proceedings of specialized symposia. His collaborations were numerous and they were a key feature of his research. Tom was a very popular collaborator and many a colleague saw his research benefit from his expertise on monoaminergic neurotransmitters. In the Department of Physiology, he collaborated with Herbert H. Jasper, Nico van Gelder, Laurent Descarries, Jean-Claude Lacaille, Réjean Couture and Jacques de Champlain. At Université de Montréal, he participated in research projects on mutant mice with Mihai Botez and Robert Lalonde and he also worked with Roger Butterworth and Robert Élie. Beyond our institution, he was involved in several collaborations with researchers from McGill University, University of Alberta and University of Saskatchewan, as well as from universities in Europe (Paris, Lyon) and in South American (Caracas, Venezuela). In addition, his laboratory was host to several visiting scientists from various countries, such as France, Germany, Venezuela and Morocco.
As for training researchers, he was also very active, since he supervised 18 graduate students and 9 postdoctoral fellows. He also acted as external referee on some 13 thesis committees outside Université de Montréal. When re-reading his C.V., one notices that he participated in an impressive number of thesis committees; actually, more than 90 of them, along with 42 comprehensive examinations and 10 student advisory committees. All concerned knew that, with Tom on their Thesis Committee, they would face both a friendly smile and a few in-depth and sharp questions. They also knew that he was biassed in their favour and they could trust him to support them, should they encounter some difficulty when responding.
Starting in 2000, he had been acting as Treasurer and President of the Finance Committee of the Canadian College of Neuropsychopharmacology; he was also a member of their Executive Committee. Tom was a member of numerous committees in the Department of Physiology, at Université de Montréal, as well as with research funding agencies, and his work was always highly effective.
This summary paints the portrait of a dedicated professor, a competent and productive researcher, a collaborator both accessible and sought-after, a very fine colleague and this is how his friends and members of his academia family will remember him. His friendship, his generosity and his collegiality will be greatly missed. Tom was a nice and generous person. In this photograph, his sense of humour is showing through a particularly amusing smile. . Tom was always ready to help out, to edit an article, to correct, to teach. He was truly a professor, in the noblest sense of the word. All the students who trained with him during their graduate studies remained very close to him. Tom was highly representative of a modern-day academic career. Since the announcement of his death, many collaborators from different parts of the world have expressed their condolences to his family and his colleagues
Through this opportunity, we wish to extend to his wife, Céline Germain, his mother, Rita Mautner and his brother Claudio (Juana) our most sincere condolences, as well as our assurance that we will do our utmost to keep Tom's memory alive. It was indeed Tom's wish to bequeath a portion of his estate to create the Fonds Tomás Reader pour la recherche sur la moelle épinière (Tomás Reader Fund for spinal cord research) at Université de Montréal, a fund which will be administered by the CRSN. We are most grateful to him. Donations may be addressed to Fonds Tomás Reader, Bureau de Développement, Faculty of medicine, Université de Montréal, P.O. Box 6128, Centre-ville Station, Montreal, QC H3C 3J7
Jean-Claude Lacaille, Director
Department of Physiology
Serge Rossignol, Director
Center for Research in Neurological Sciences (CRSN)
Vincent F. Castellucci