Albert Tousson works long hours in darkened rooms in the Shelby Building managing the High Resolution Imaging Facility.
And there, through the years, late at night, usually while waiting for colleagues to choose fields for imaging, Tousson could not resist the urge — to sing.
|Albert Tousson, manager of the High Resolution Imaging Facility, is May’s Employee of the Month.|
“The singing quite often had a doubly beneficial effect,” he says. “It would help keep me awake when working in the dark, and it would encourage my patrons to find their fields faster.”
Tousson’s sense of humor is his calling card among colleagues, and their appreciation for his work ethic and dedication to their research is demonstrated in his selection as May’s Employee of the Month.
Tousson credits supervisor Kent Keyser’s “genial and engaging style of teaching” as his standard for working with his colleagues. Tousson has taught many UAB scientists to operate extremely complicated digital microscopes and equipment during his 10 years as manager of imaging facility. He is known to work late to assist researchers in the facility, which is open 24 hours daily.
“I have found Albert to be helpful, dedicated, technically superb and always willing to assist in every way,” says Eric J. Sorscher, M.D., professor in the Department of Medicine. “His help with specimen preparation and other valuable services has been an enormous asset to my own laboratory and the Cystic Fibrosis Research Center at large. He has been an outstanding and valuable institutional resource for many years.”
It’s not just his positive attitude and desire to help that make Tousson such a joy to work with, his colleagues say.
“What truly makes Albert invaluable is his willingness to help and the depth of knowledge he has obtained and shares with those around him,” says Riley Myers, a graduate student in Microbiology. “Albert and I recently worked together on a Nature Immunology paper, and this experience helped to expand my knowledge of microscopy.”
Tousson says his desire to help others was inspired by his mother, a seamstress who often would stay awake overnight to finish a project she had undertaken.
“She always put her best effort into everything,” Tousson says. “She used to say, ‘Whatever your hands find to do, do it with all your might.’ And that’s what I do.”
Tousson jokes that he is riddled with a wide spectrum of phobias, manias and neuroses and says, “These seeming drawbacks actually have served me well as manager of the High Resolution Imaging Facility.”
Sabarish Indran doesn’t disagree. Indran, a graduate research assistant in Microbiology, says Tousson has been extremely helpful during the past year, and his expertise has helped him yield great research results.
“He has helped me resolve major issues, which, in turn, has enabled me to obtain quality data,” Indran says.
Tousson’s days as manager of the facility are coming to a close. He is retiring Oct. 1 after more than 23 years at UAB. He says the relentless grant and paper deadlines always have been challenging, but the work has been made more tolerable by his co-workers and imaging patrons.
Co-worker Shawn Williams says Tousson will be missed by his colleagues.
“We all feel Albert has gone the extra mile in achieving excellence at UAB,” Williams says. “Albert made UAB his home and its employees his family.”
Keyser, Ph.D., director of the High-Resolution Imaging Facility says, “Albert’s dedication and expertise has been critical for the continued success of many of us in the research community at UAB.”