Meticulous editor, tireless administrator and avid sportswoman, Dorothy E. “Dottie” Thomas has always been a force to be reckoned with, whether armed with a hunting rifle or a red pen.
The 91-year-old wife of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center’s Nobel Prize-winning bone marrow transplant pioneer, the late Dr. E. Donnall Thomas, Dottie has been called the “mother of bone marrow transplantation” thanks to the nearly 60 years she spent working at her husband’s side.
“Dottie did it all,” said Dr. Fred Appelbaum, executive vice president and deputy director of Fred Hutch. “She was everything from Don’s early-on lab technician to the writer of his grants to his administrator to the person who kept all the records and reviewed all the papers.”
Dottie Thomas can now add major benefactor to her many roles, thanks to the creation of Dottie’s Bridge, an endowment designed to grow and then help young promising researchers bridge the gap between the end of their National Institutes of Health-supported fellowship and their first grant award.
“After you’ve finished your formal training, there’s a gulf between that time and the point where you have enough data and experience to really warrant a position as a full faculty member,” Appelbaum said. “That gulf is where Dottie’s contribution is going to be important. It’s the late adolescence/early adulthood of someone’s career.”