I maintain, despite the moment's evidence against the claim, that we are born and grow up with a fondness for each other, and we have genes for that. We can be talked out of it, for the genetic message is like a distant music, and some of us are hard-of-hearing. Societies are noisy affairs, drowning out the sound of ourselves and our connection.
~ Lewis Thomas (1913-1993)
Dr. Thomas was Chair from 1954 to 1958 and, in this short time, broadened the role of the Department from academic morphologic pathology to experimental pathology with a strong emphasis on immunology and inflammation, turning NYU Pathology into one of the preeminent pathology departments in the country. Until his departure from NYU in 1969, he also served as Chair of Medicine at Bellevue Hospital and Dean of the NYU School of Medicine. Among his many interests were infectious diseases, post streptococcal rheumatic fever and glomerulonephritis. He was a gifted teacher, noted author of The Lives of a Cell, and founder of the School of Medicine Honors Program and an experimental pathology training program, both supported with NIH funding. Thomas recruited many significant faculty members and profoundly shaped the leadership role of the Department. His extraordinary work provided the basis for genuine interdisciplinary and collaborative research at NYU. Frequently hailed as the "father of experimental pathology," Thomas was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1961 and the National Academy of Science in 1972.