Luis Colom, a professor at University of Texas Brownsville, has died from cancer.
Dr. Colom and I were hired the same year, 2001. I was hired by The University of Texas-Pan American. Dr. Colom was hired down the road at University of Texas-Brownsville.
We both did neuroscience. I think it’s fair to say we were the first people doing neuroscience in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. But despite this, we never had any serious interactions. This was probably because his research was distinctly biomedical and mammalian, whereas mine is emphatically not. I think I saw him make some opening remarks at an NSF workshop I attended at Brownsville.
A missed opportunity.
This message from UT Brownsville makes it clear he did a lot for their institution. I once heard that he had been denied tenure at another institution. I have no idea if that’s correct, but if it is, it certainly is a lesson in how people can not make it in one place, but do well in another.
It’s shame he did not live to see the opening of The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Because he was obviously the sort of person who helped make that transition possible, and he would probably have enjoyed the challenge of working in a new university.
Update, 13 May 2014: Another thing we had in common was a student, Nadia Carreon. Nadia worked with me as an undergraduate, and Dr. Colom as a master’s student. Nadia and I were working on our second paper together when Dr. Colom died, so we dedicated the paper to his memory.
Remembering Luis Colom