Degrees and Certifications:
Dr. Thomas Shaffer
Class of 1963
Year Inducted 2021
Professor Shaffer, a long-time resident of Drexel Hill, attended St. Charles Elementary School and Upper Darby High School. Throughout elementary school and high school he had great interests in sports (football, track, baseball), music, mathematics and science. He currently resides in Chadds Ford, PA with his wife, two sons, a daughter-in-law and two grandchildren.
Dr. Shaffer received his undergraduate and doctorate degrees from Drexel University. He was an instructor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Pennsylvania State University and performed his postdoctoral work at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. In 1977 he was recruited by the Temple University School of Medicine where he was promoted to Professor of Physiology and Pediatrics at the Sidney Kimmel School of Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University. He is the Director of the Center for Pediatric Lung Research and Associate Director of Biomedical Research at the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware.
Throughout his career as a clinical research scientist, Dr. Shaffer has worked to bridge the disciplines of applied mathematics, engineering, and medicine to better our understanding of developmental physiology, specifically with the lungs. Dr. Shaffer’s revolutionary work with treatments for respiratory distress syndrome is known world-wide. Since 1974, he has been continuously supported by NIH grants along with academic, corporate, and private institutional awards. He has published 78 books, chapters, and reviews; 306 peer-reviewed manuscripts; and 605 abstracts/presentations. As a student of translational research, he has moved multiple intellectual properties (34 patents) from the “bench top” to the “clinic” and on to “industry.” In his faculty roles he has mentored 48 graduate students and 67 post-doctoral Fellows.
Professor Shaffer is most well known for his work using oxygen-rich inert liquid for breathing. In 1989, his work and revolutionary concept was featured in the movies and book, The Abyss as well as the book The Lost Symbol and several science fiction movies. More importantly, he led the first clinical trial with liquid ventilation in premature infants with respiratory distress. His research studies were featured on Good Morning America in 1989, The Human Body in 2000, CBS’s Tomorrow’s World, in the Reader’s Digest Article “Miracle Baby” in 2006 and The New Scientist in 2010, as well as numerous network news coverage and national and international press releases. He has also been featured as a lecturer at many international and national medical conferences, and has served on multiple editorial boards, consistently exhibiting his passion for professional expansion.
In recognition of outstanding contributions to his profession and the Marquis Who’s Who community, Dr. Shaffer has been featured on the Albert Nelson Lifetime Achievement website, Olin Matheson Fellowship, Ford Foundation Fellowship, Inventors Fulcrum of Progress Award, Scholar of the Pennsylvania Plan, and the Temple University Million Dollar Research Award. He was nominated for the U.S. President's National Medal for Innovation.
“Find your passion and a way to pursue it. Never give up on give in”