Thomas Yorio, PhD
Dr. Yorio received his Ph.D. in Pharmacology from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York in 1975. He remained at Sinai for a brief Postdoctoral appointment where he was a National Science Foundation Fellow and a National Kidney Foundation Fellow. In 1977 he joined the UNT Health Science Center as an Assistant Professor and rose in rank to Professor in Pharmacology and Neuroscience. He was selected as the Founding Dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in 1993, served as Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Research and is currently the Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs. Dr. Yorio has maintained an actively funded research program (NIH and pharmaceutical industry) and is recognized nationally and internationally for his work in glaucoma and signal transduction. He continues to serve on NEI Study Sections for R01 and training grant reviews and on NEI Small Business Innovative Research Grant panels. In 2005, he was selected to serve on the National Eye Institutes Glaucoma Panel to help set the NEI´s research direction over the next five years. He served as Associate Editor for Experimental Biology and Medicine for ten years and was on the Editorial Board for Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science for ten years before being selected and currently serving as an Associate Editor for this journal. He also serves as Associate Editor for the Journal of Ocular Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. Dr. Yorio was elected as Trustee for the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology in 2000 and served as their Vice President in 2005. He has received The Distinguished Service Award from ARVO and most recently was selected as an ARVO Fellow receiving their gold medal. As an active member of the Council on Graduate Schools (CGS) he had, over several years, organized the health sciences section of the meeting.
Dr. Yorio has made many contributions to the area of glaucoma, from his early work in membrane transport and drug receptor pharmacology of alpha2-agents to his recent work on defining the role of endothelins in glaucoma. He has been asked to organize numerous national and international symposia on glaucoma. His laboratory has also recently identified a possible explanation as to why certain individuals are susceptible to glucocorticoids in developing ocular hypertension. His work on glucocorticoid receptors and their expression in glaucoma should yield useful information in insights into the ocular hyper-responsiveness often seen with these agents. More recently he is working on defining the role of sigma receptors in neuroprotection. Dr. Yorio is an active collaborator with Alcon Research Ltd., and has been involved in numerous projects involving translational research. He has been the recipient of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board's Advanced Research and Advanced Technology grants that resulted in the development of potentially new glaucoma therapeutics.
Dr. Yorio has also been a major proponent in increasing under represented minorities into the biomedical sciences. While Dean, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences had the highest percent enrollment of African-Americans and Hispanic students of all the health science centers in Texas over a several year period. During this time, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences was designated a Role Model institution by Minority Access Inc., a NIH sponsored organization. In addition, the Graduate School Office of Outreach received the coveted 2001 NSF Presidential Award for Science Mentoring Outreach and was recognized during the Clinton administration as a Best Practice.
Dr. Yorio shares his life with his wife, Elena, with a primary residence in Burleson. He has two married children who live in Texas and three grandchildren.