John L. Omdahl, PhD
Dr. John L. Omdahl was the Senior Associate Dean at the UNM School of Medicine; a Regent's Professor; a La Tierra Sagrada Award recipient; and received the P450 Life-time Achievement Award and a Brown University Symposium Award. He joined the Department of Biochemistry at The University of New Mexico School of Medicine as an Assistant Professor in 1972.
He was President of UNM's Faculty Senate for two terms and was the head of Academic Freedom and Tenure for two terms at UNM. Dr. Omdahl was also President of the NM Heart Association for two terms. He was a visiting Distinguished Scholar, University of Adelaide, S. Australia and an active member of East Mountain Calvary Chapel Church.
Dr. Omdahl was an avid fly fisherman, played basketball for Colorado State University for four years and also was a participant in the Intelligent Design Society.
Dr. Omdahl, a 33-year resident of Albuquerque, died February 10, 2005. Jack is remembered as a man of leadership, integrity, and generosity who left us a legacy to follow throughout our own lives.
When Jack arrived in the early 70s, he was fresh from his post-doc in vitamin-D biochemistry, and anxious to begin clinical investigation in rare patients with abnormal vitamin-D metabolism. While we were several years away from having our NIH Clinical Research Center, I had worked at the NIH GCRC for three years, so was able to help Jack conduct clinical investigations in these patients both at the Student Health Center, as well as in the Bernalillo County Medical Center with informed consent and institutional approval. These studies helped the School of Medicine establish credibility in clinical research when we submitted our GCRC grant request which was subsequently funded.
Jack pursued both basic and clinical research in this chosen field with extensive national recognition, while carrying a heavy teaching load including not only graduate students and post-docs, but also sharing teaching in the SOM Endocrinology and Metabolism blocks for freshman and sophomore medical students. Jack was a close friend, colleague, and scientist who significantly strengthened our science based educational curriculum for decades. He is missed, but not forgotten as one of strong members of the Biochemistry community with a strong commitment to basic and clinical investigation to advance the understanding of health and disease as impacted by Vitamin-D.
— R. Philip Eaton, MD