“Like riding a bike”: Bates, Tomasson manage multiple collaborations

Marie and Pierre Curie. Carl and Gerty Cori. Successful partnerships in science are not entirely novel. However, Michael Tomasson, MD, sees his relationship with his wife and primary collaborator, Melissa Bates, PhD, closer to the one betweenfictional detective Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson. Watson, the talented battlefield physician, spent his days dissecting Sherlock’s complex mind and following him along on adventures. Tomasson casts himself in the Watson role to Bates’s Sherlock.

“Bates made it a habit of demonstrating I’m wrong,” Tomasson said. The professor in Hematology, Oncology, and Blood and Marrow Transplantation went on, “I still remain sort of dazzled to this day by her ability to make these leaps and do these amazing experiments.”

Tomasson is too humble, Bates, associate professor in Health and Human Physiology, is quick to point out. As a physician scientist, Tomasson, she says, battles blood cancer and is a fierce defender of his patients, but he is also an internationally recognized scientist and expert in the genetics of blood cancer. Bates and Tomasson leverage their unique perspectives in their work and often turn to each other for advice. Recently, when Tomasson mentioned a desire to become more involved in scientific mentorship and education, Bates advised him to join the American Physiological Society (APS).

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