This unassuming Hungarian never called himself anything but Tom Ban, despite a record that justified pretentiousness.

Born in Budapest in November 1929, Tom studied medicine at Semmelweis University from 1948 to 1954 and trained in psychiatry at the National Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology from 1954 to 1956.

Because of the Hungarian uprising he emigrated to Canada, serving as a rotating intern in 1957–58 at the Victoria General Hospital in Halifax, and as a resident psychiatrist in Montreal under Heinz Lehmann at the Verdun Protestant Hospital (VPH) in 1958–59, and under Ewen Cameron at the Allan Memorial Institute in 1959–60. In 1960 Tom joined the staff at VPH as Senior Psychiatrist and Chief of the Clinical Research Service. He received his Diploma in Psychiatry from McGill in 1960 with a thesis on “Conditioning and Psychiatry”, published in 1964.

In 1971 Tom became inaugural director of McGill’s Division of Psychopharmacology, the first university division in the emerging field. In 1972 he became Director of the WHO Training Program in Biological Psychiatry.

He considered Lehman both a role model and close friend. From the beginning, he investigated various drugs at VPN, ultimately writing more than 60 books and more than 800 scientific papers. By 1970 he was an Associate Professor at McGill.

In 1976 he went to Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, where he spent the rest of his career, becoming director of the Tennessee Neuropsychiatric Institute’s Clinical Research Service. He retired in 1995 as Professor of Psychiatry.

In 1959 Tom published Psychopharmacology (Williams and Wilkins), the first textbook in the field. In addition, he was active in the American College of Neuropharmacology (ACNP), where he was accepted into membership in 1966 and ultimately became a Fellow Emeritus, and the Collegium Internationale Neuropsychopharmacologicum (CINP). In 2013 he became founding editor of the International Network for the History of Neuropsychopharmacology (INHN) website. In these capacities he developed a worldwide network of colleagues, becoming an international leader in psychopharmacology.

In addition to treatments, Tom had a strong interest in the classification of psychiatric illness. He was a follower of German psychiatrist Karl Leonhard and an honorary member of the International Wernicke-Kleist-Leonhard Society. He considered the distinctive nosology that emerged from this school much superior to the American Psychiatric Association’s rival Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.

Tom retained strong links to his native Hungary, often returning to Budapest to give talks and socialize. He served on the boards of two Hungarian neuropsychiatric journals, as well as journals in Argentina, Brazil, Italy, and the United States.

It falls beyond this space to list Tom’s numerous honours. But it should be noted that this long list began in 1953 with the Medical University of Budapest’s Student Competition in Neurology and Psychiatry, and culminated in 2003 with ACNP’s Paul Hoch Distinguished Service Award.

In 1993 Tom became a licensed member of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, but after he, Joan and their son Chris moved to Toronto, Tom did not practice medicine. He devoted himself to his far-flung scientific interests until dying on February 4, 2022, following a massive stroke.