Lives of the fellows

Thomas Eugene Andreoli

b.9 January 1935 d.14 April 2009
BA St Vincent(1956) MD Georgetown(1960) FACP(1970) Hon ScD St Vincent(1987) Hon Docteur Paris VII Denis Diderot(1993) Hon MD Thessaloniki(2000) FRCP Edin(2001) FRCP(2007)

Tom Andreoli was distinguished professor of internal medicine and the Nolan chair emeritus of the department of internal medicine at the University of Arkansas College of Medicine, in Little Rock, Arkansas, USA. He was born in the Bronx, New York, the son of Eugene Andreoli and Lydia Bertoldi Andreoli, part of an Italian immigrant family with a strong work ethic. His everyday life included literature, art and opera. He was encouraged by the archdiocese of New York to attend a small Benedictine College, St Vincent, in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, where his devotion to community, local autonomy and strong leadership was forged.

He attended medical school at Georgetown University, where he finished at the top of his class. He served his internship and residency in internal medicine at Duke University, with a three-year interval spent on research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). At Duke he was greatly influenced by his mentor and internal medicine department chair, Eugene Stead. Stead arranged for Andreoli to spend time in the laboratory of Dan Tosteson, where he received his basic research training. His team demonstrated that increased water permeability was induced by amphotericin in cholesterol-rich lipid bilayers. They were the first to detail the dimensions and charge characteristics of a water pore, leading to many discussions in laboratories around the world about how water crosses an epithelial barrier. The discovery of aquaporins many years later validated his theory.

While at Duke, he was greatly influenced by Roscoe ‘Ike’ Robinson and did his nephrology training with him. He left Duke in 1970, and became professor of internal medicine and director of the nephrology research and training center at the University of Alabama School of Medicine (UAB). While at UAB he was fully able to demonstrate his skills as an administrator and programme builder, beginning with only one other faculty member. He personally worked 20-hour days, covering the wards, consultation services, dialysis units and clinics. After nine years, he had built one of the premier nephrology divisions in the US, with an excellent fellowship training programme.

In 1979, he went to the University of Texas Medical School at Houston as professor and chair of the department of internal medicine. Once again, that department was in a nascent state. He built an outstanding department, where his legendary morning reports with his house staff began.

In 1988, he was named professor and chair of the department of internal medicine at the University of Arkansas College of Medicine. Again, he continued his teaching, still taking the house staff morning report every day, directing in-patient services and continuing his research. And once again, he built an outstanding department. His skill as a recruiter was legendary. His research was continuously funded by the NIH until he closed his laboratory in 2004. He stepped down from the chair of internal medicine and was named distinguished professor in 2004, but continued to take the house staff morning report every day, and attend in-patient and consultation services until just days before his death.

Tom had many national and international roles. He served as editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Physiology: Renal, Fluid and Electrolyte Physiology from 1976 to 1983 and as editor-in-chief of Kidney International from 1984 to 1997. He was editor-in-chief of Andreoli and Carpenter's Cecil essentials of medicine (Edinburgh, Elsevier Saunders), with the eighth edition due to be published in early 2010. He had over 270 original scientific papers, reviews and book chapters published. He served as an officer in several societies: he was president of the American Society of Nephrology from 1993 to 1994 and president of the International Society of Nephrology from 1999 to 2001.

His honours included: the Homer W Smith award from the American Society of Nephrology in 1995; the David M Hume memorial award from the National Kidney Foundation in 1997; the Robert H Williams distinguished chair of medicine award from the Association of Professors of Medicine in 1998; the distinguished teacher award from the American College of Physicians in 2000; the Robert W Berliner award for excellence in renal physiology from the American Physiological Society in 2000. He was elected a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh in 2001 and of the London College in 2007. Endowed chairs in his name were established at both the University of Alabama School of Medicine and the University of Arkansas College of Medicine.

He will be remembered as an outstanding teacher, a compassionate and empathetic bed-side physician, a skilled administrator and recruiter, and an innovative investigator. He will be missed by his many trainees and friends.

He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth (Berglund), whom he married in 1987. He was previously married to Kathleen Gainor, with whom he had three children who survive him – Paula Andreoli North, Karen Andreoli Roberts and Thomas Anthony Andreoli – together with ten grandchildren.

Clementine McGowin Whitman

[The American Physiological Society (www.the-aps.org/membership/obituaries/thomas_andreoli.htm); The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (www.rcpe.ac.uk/publications/obituaries/2009/andreoli.php); The New York Times 19 April 2009]

(Volume XII, page web)

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