Thomas B. Clarkson, Jr., DVM

Thomas B. Clarkson, Jr., DVM

Thomas B. Clarkson, Jr., DVM (December 1, 2015)

Thomas Boston Clarkson Jr., DVM died at the age of 84 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He was an Honorary Member of AGOS. Thomas Clarkson was born on June 13, 1931 in Decatur, Georgia. He attended the University of Georgia, where he received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Degree. He joined the faculty of the School of Medicine at Wake Forest University in April 1957 and continued on the faculty there until his retirement in April 2015. He developed one of the nation's leading biomedical research programs and was a driving force behind Wake Forest's rise to international prominence in Comparative Medicine through studies of animal models to understand human diseases. In 1960 he established the nation's first training program in Comparative Medicine, a program continuously supported by the NIH throughout his life. Beginning in 1964, he developed what became the 200-acre Clarkson Campus (formerly the Friedberg Campus) as home for the Center for Comparative Medicine research. It is recognized today as one world's top facilities for animal research. Dr. Clarkson was named the first Chair of Comparative Medicine, a position he held for 37 years before stepping down to focus on his research into postmenopausal estrogen therapy and dietary interventions. His work with non-human primates over the course of nearly 60 years has expanded our understanding of the effects of dietary cholesterol and a variety of pharmacological and hormone therapy alternatives on atherosclerosis and the effects of social behavior and stress on health and heart disease in post-menopausal females. He received more than $60 million in research funding and maintained continuous funding from 1959 until his retirement in 2015. He authored 328 journal articles and 85 book chapters. He had a spontaneous warmth and sense of humor, which made him a great speaker. He built an international network of collaborators and leaders. He mentored and inspired generations of students, clinicians, and scientists as a professor and visionary researcher.

Among his many honors, Dr. Clarkson was elected to the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine in 1986, one of only nine veterinary members. He held an Award of Merit for Distinguished Service from the American Heart Association, served on the AHA Board of Directors, and chaired its Council on Atherosclerosis. He was also a member of the North American Menopause Society (NAMS), which he joined at its founding in 1989 and served six years on its board. In his honor, the organization established the annual Thomas B. Clarkson Outstanding Clinical & Basic Science Research Award. He was also an Honorary Member of the American Gynecological and Obstetrical Society, the most prestigious and oldest academic society in the field of obstetrics and gynecology.

Dr. Clarkson is survived by his wife JoAnn Harrison Clarkson, three children, and numerous grand- and great-grandchildren. He loved his farm and was passionate about his miniature horses, miniature donkeys, chickens, and pygmy goats.

The mark Dr. Clarkson has left on the Wake Forest University School of Medicine is indelible. Apart from naming the research campus after him, the institution has also established The Thomas B. Clarkson, DVM Lectureship in Comparative Medicine to bring visiting experts in comparative medicine to Wake Forest University School of Medicine in honor of Dr. Clarkson's enduring legacy.

Submitted by Eberhard Mueller-Heubach, MD, AGOS President (2005-2006)

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