The first chair of McGovern Medical School’s Department of Pharmacology, G. Alan Robison, Ph.D., 80, died May 25, 2015.

Born in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, Robison received his Ph.D. in pharmacology from Tulane 1962. He then joined the faculty of Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

He was the principal author of “Cyclic AMP,” a ground-breaking work published in 1971 along with Dr. Reginald W. Butcher and Dr. Earl W. Sutherland, Jr., who won the 1971 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for related work.

Robison was recruited to the Medical School in 1971 by first dean Dr. Cheves Smythe.

“I heard that G. Alan Robison could be lured from Vanderbilt, and he had all the attributes that the then-infant UT Medical School at Houston was looking for in the group of initial department leaders critical to its future,” Dr. Smythe said. “After a brief courtship, Al agreed to come, a happy decision for the Medical School. Not only did it gain his talents, but he recruited a truly remarkable group to join him, all of whom went onto long standing leadership positions both in Houston and in other medical schools.”

“Over the 40 years that we knew each other, he was never anything other than upbeat and positive. The Medical School and Houston has lost a great citizen,” Smythe added.

“One of the best pieces of advice he gave me was that ,’You should always try to hire people who were better than you were’ – he felt that was the only way institutions could really improve,” said Dr. George Stancel, professor of integrative biology and pharmacology and executive vice president of academic and research affairs. “Al was truly a Renaissance man and had an important impact on the Medical School and Health Science Center. Everyone in the UTHealth family owes him a great deal.”