In Memoriam: Melvin "Scott" Thomson

Scott Thomson

Dr. Melvin "Scott" Thomson, age 62, of Racine, Wisconsin, passed away on March 21, 2016.

He earned an A.B. at Middlebury College in 1976 in Biology/Chemistry. Dr. Thomson went on to earn a Masters of Science in Entomology at the University of Georgia in 1981 and his Ph.D. in Entomology at North Carolina State University in 1986.

He continued his training in genetics and entomology as a post-doctoral scientist in the laboratory of Cathie Laurie in the Department of Zoology at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and then the laboratory of Richard Beeman at the USDA Stored Product Insect Research Unit in Manhattan, Kansas.

Dr. Thomson served as a Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside in Kenosha, Wisconsin, from 1992 to 2014. During his time there, he served as Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences from 2003 through 2007.

Dr. Thomson conducted research on the genetic molecular mechanisms controlling development using the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum, as a model. For him, an essential element of his laboratory research was that it provided opportunities for students to participate. He served as the thesis advisor for 11 Master of Science students and countless undergraduate students. While nurturing these students, Dr. Thomson did not shy away from tackling difficult and innovative research problems. His laboratory made important and novel discoveries about the genetic basis of reproductive incompatibility in insects. Many of his students have gone on to careers in science, some in industry, some in academic research, some in medicine, and some in education.

Dr. Thomson distinguished himself as an educator, teaching a wide range of courses in the biological sciences. He was well liked and well regarded by his students and colleagues because of his kindness, patience, and professionalism. Even in retirement, Dr. Thomson continued to support UW-Parkside students by establishing the Scott and Alice Thomson Research Fellowship, which supports UW-Parkside undergraduates and graduate students to conduct field-based or laboratory research in the biological sciences in collaboration with faculty members.

Scott is survived by his wife, Alice (Raymond), daughter Elsie, and son Raymond Thomson, his wife Mary, and his granddaughter, Emma.