Monday, February 05, 2007

Obit: Dr. Leon Thal, Alzheimer Research Leader

From today's San Diego Union-Tribune:

Pioneering Alzheimer's scientist at UCSD dies
Thal led efforts to find therapies for the disease
By Cheryl Clark and Sandra Dibble
San Diego Union-Tribune
February 5, 2007

Dr. Leon J. Thal, a Cardiff neuroscientist and international pioneer in Alzheimer's disease, died Saturday after his small plane crashed in the mountains southwest of Borrego Springs.

Thal's plane had taken off from San Diego's Montgomery Field at 6:15 p.m. Saturday and was headed for Borrego Springs, said Bruce Nelson, a Federal Aviation Administration official in Lawndale. The airplane, with only the pilot on board, crashed under unknown circumstances, Nelson said.

Thal was chairman of the neurosciences department at the University of California San Diego. Leslie Franz, a spokeswoman for the university, confirmed late yesterday that Thal died in the crash.

“This is a huge blow to UCSD,” Dr. Henry Powell, a professor of pathology and chairman of the academic senate, said in a statement. “He was a skillful manager of strong-minded people, charming and diplomatic as well as visionary and persuasive.”

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