It is with much sadness that the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center announces the passing of Thomas Williams, MD, former executive vice dean of the UNM School of Medicine.
Williams, 57, died Jan. 7. His wife, Maggie, and the couple’s three sons were with him throughout the day.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, Jan. 17, beginning at 2 p.m., with a reception to follow. The service will be held in the auditorium of the Domenici Center for Health Sciences Education, 1001 Stanford NE, in Albuquerque.
"Dr. Williams made tremendous contributions to our academic and clinical and research missions throughout his long career here,” said Paul B. Roth, MD, chancellor for health sciences and dean of the School of Medicine. “He was a trusted advisor and friend and will be missed throughout the Health Sciences Center.”
Williams was appointed executive vice dean in July 2012 and stepped down from the position in November 2014. The executive vice dean is responsible for the School of Medicine’s day-to-day operations and also serves as top administrative officer for the UNM Medical Group.
A molecular pathologist and professor of pathology, Williams was director of the molecular diagnostics laboratory at UNM Hospital. His research centered on immunogenetics, the study of genes and proteins that control the immune response and the immune reaction to transplanted organs, such as kidneys and bone marrow. Williams published more than 100 research papers during his career, including highly cited papers in Transplantation and Molecular Genetics.
Williams was appointed chair of the UNM Pathology Department in 2008. The department is among the top 10 in the U.S. with respect to grant funding from the National Institutes of Health. Prior to assuming his role as chair, he served as the department’s executive vice chair from 2003 to 2006 and as vice chair of undergraduate medical education from 1998 to 2005.
While at UNM, Williams also served on the boards of the UNM Medical Group, TriCore Reference Laboratories and the National Center for Genome Resources. He also chaired the College of American Pathologists Pharmacogenomics Education Committee.
Williams joined the School of Medicine faculty in 1991. He received his MD from UNM and completed a pathology residency at the University of Pennsylvania, where he also served as chief resident of anatomic pathology in the Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine. His post-graduate training included an immunobiology training fellowship sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Williams is survived by his wife, Margaret, three sons, Andrew, Alex, and Henry, mother Jacqueline C. Williams, four siblings, William, Susan, Donna, and Molly, and their extended families. The family has made arrangements for memorial gifts to be made to the University of New Mexico. Memorial contributions can be mailed to the UNM Foundation, Two Woodward Center, 700 Lomas Blvd. NE, Albuquerque, NM 87102. The Dr. Thomas McKee Williams fund for Education and Training has been established in his memory. For more information, contact Bill Uher at 505-277-4078.