Emmanuel Bandele Thompson
Emmanuel Bandele Thompson
Emmanuel B. Thompson is a pharmacologist and educator known for his research leading toward treatments for high blood pressure and sickle-cell anemia. Both diseases, particularly the latter, have a high rate of incidence among African Americans, and Thompson has published numerous studies regarding these conditions. In addition, he has conducted important research on drug screening, and published a textbook on the subject.
The oldest of five children, Thompson was born on March 15, 1928, in the town of Zaria in the northern part of what became Nigeria after the British decolonized that nation two decades later. His father was a successful merchant for the United Africa Company, which purchased the agricultural products of the area and sold manufactured goods from outside to the locals. Thompson attended a Roman Catholic school, where he took an early interest in biology—an interest that was piqued when renowned African-American scientist George Washington Carver (1860-1943) visited the school.
After earning his high school diploma from a prestigious boarding school in the Nigerian capital of Lagos, Thompson worked at a variety of jobs before entering the Yaba School of Pharmacy in Lagos in 1951. Late in 1952, he received a diploma as a technician, and soon afterward earned a scholarship, established by a Quaker missionary in Nigeria, to Rockhurst College in McPherson, Kansas. Thompson finished his biology degree at Rockhurst in three years, graduating with a B.S. in 1955. He then entered the University of Missouri in Kansas City, where he met and married Nova Garner, with whom he later had two daughters. In 1959 he earned his pharmacy certification, but chose to continue his education and in 1961 began work on his M.S. in pharmacology at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. Earning his M.S. in 1963, he went on to the University of Washington in Seattle, where he earned his Ph.D. in pharmacology in 1966. His dissertation dealt with the treatment of high blood pressure with synthetic compounds to inhibit nerve messages to the heart.
Thompson went to work as a senior research pharmacist at Baxter Laboratories in Morton Grove, Illinois, near Chicago. In this capacity he developed a variety of general anesthetics, one of which gained wide use among surgeons in Japan. Following a three-year stint with Baxter, Thompson became an assistant professor at the University of Illinois Medical Center's College of Pharmacy. In 1971 he began working part-time at West Side Veteran's Administration Hospital in Chicago as its principal researcher and consultant. In 1973 Thompson became an associate professor, and, though his base remained in the College of Pharmacy, he also taught classes in the schools of Public Health and Associated Medical Sciences, and in the College of Nursing. An occasional lecturer at the Illinois College of Pediatric Medicine and the Chicago State University School of Nursing, he published a textbook called Drug Bioscreening in 1985. A revised edition saw print in 1990.
In addition to his work on high blood pressure, in the 1980s and 1990s Thompson researched treatments for sickle-cell anemia. As of the late 1990s there was no cure for sickle-cell anemia, a disease that primarily affects African Americans. However, in dozens of papers on this disease and high blood pressure, Thompson suggested methods of treating it. He has also conducted vital research in the area of screening tropical plants for their medicinal uses.
Thompson retired from teaching in 1997, but continues to consult with hospitals. He is a member of the New York Academy of Science, the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, and the American Pharmaceutical Association. He lives in Chicago.