July 09, 2013

Retired longtime professor Milan Tomana passes away

Written by
milan-tomanaMilan Tomana, Ph.D., a retired professor from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine where he worked for almost 40 years, passed away Friday, June 28, 2013. He was 81.

Tomana retired as a research professor of medicine in the Division of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology in July 1997. He had been volunteering in research with the Department of Microbiology for the past three years.

“He was a wonderful, kind and humble individual,” said Bill Koopman, M.D., distinguished professor and chairman emeritus of the Department of Medicine and previous director of the Division of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology. “He was always willing to share ideas and had a high degree of integrity. He was a superb scientist.”

Tomana began his decades-long career at UAB in 1968 as a postdoc in the Department of Experimental Endocrinology. He was hired as a staff research associate in Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology in 1970, before joining the division faculty in 1971. During his career, he also worked in the Comprehensive Cancer Center, Diabetes Research and Training Center, Multipurpose Arthritis Center, and Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Disease Center.  

His pioneering studies of molecular alterations of antibodies in chronic inflammatory diseases prompted further application of his findings to autoimmune diseases.

"In collaboration with faculty members from the Department of Microbiology, he made and extensively reported several discoveries of fundamental importance in the cause and development of the most common glomerulonephritis, which may ultimately contribute to rational therapy of this disease," said Jiri Mestecky, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of Microbiology and longtime friend of Tomana. 

He and his wife Linda were married 26 years. He is survived by her and three children: Jara Tomana, Merik Tomana and Julie Wooten; daughter-in-law Lisa Tomana; son-in-law Derek Wooten; 10 grandchildren; and two cousins, Helga Redlberger and family of Vienna, and Vlasta Lichtenberkova of Kostelec nad Orlici.