Originally a pre-med student, Thomas Dever developed an interest in chemistry after taking a required introductory course, switching his major and subsequently his life’s work.
A senior investigator and head of the Section on Protein Biosynthesis in the Laboratory of Gene Regulation and Development at the National Institute of Health, Thomas spends his days manufacturing proteins and studying how cells create them. “I lead a laboratory of nine people,” states Thomas, “including six post-doctoral fellows, a staff scientist and two technicians.”
Much different were his days at Gannon: a mix of avid studying in the Nash library, basketball and dorm rooms. “I’ll always remember Dr. Pelczar’s use of the phrase ‘road tar’ to describe organic chemistry reactions gone awry,” he says.
After Gannon, Thomas went on to receive his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Case Western Reserve University. “Coming out of a small school like Gannon, I was concerned that I would be at a disadvantage when I started graduate school in Cleveland,” recalls Thomas. “However, the study habits I developed at Gannon prepared me well for grad school and the chemistry courses provided me with a solid foundation for the study of biochemistry.”
Outside of the lab, Thomas still enjoys playing basketball and spending time with his family. Recently, he and his former classmate and friend, Eric Klann ’84, were able to collaborate and coauthor a review article on the regulation of protein synthesis in learning and memory.
“The breadth and depth of the liberal arts courses at Gannon help develop curiosity and rigorous thinking required to be a successful scientist,” he explains. “Current students should know that with dedication, they will have many opportunities for success.”
(Published prior to 2009. Revised June 2014.)