William F. Morgan

1952–2015

Dr. William Morgan, an eminent scientist and the Director of Radiation Biology and Biophysics in the Biological Sciences Division of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, died Friday evening, November 13th, 2015, at the Kadlec Medical Center near his home in Richland, Washington of pulmonary embolism.  He was 62.

Dr. Morgan, or Bill to many of his friends, was a leading figure in the study of the biological effects of ionizing radiation and had a distinguished career that spanned over 35 years.  Born and raised in Christchurch, New Zealand, Bill received his bachelor degree in botany and his master and doctoral degree in cytogenetics from the University of Canterbury.  After completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), Bill joined the faculty there and later obtained a joint appointment at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) in 1995. In 1999, he left California to become Director of the Radiation Oncology Research Laboratory at the University of Maryland Medical School in Baltimore. In 2008, Bill moved to Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and took on his leadership role until his untimely death. He held joint appointments in the Department of Radiation Oncology at both Oregon Health Science University and the University of Washington.

Dr. Morgan’s research focused on elucidating the long-term biological effects of ionizing radiation and, more specifically, on the study of low dose effects on human health. He was highly regarded by his peers and had received many awards and recognitions. He served on many national and international advisory boards , including chairman of subcommittee C of the National Cancer Institute Scientific Review Group (1998–2003); National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (2002–2014); International Commission on Radiological Protection and chaired Committee 1 (2005 onward); European Community Consortium on Non-targeted Effects of Ionizing Radiation (2006–2011); United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (2003 onward). Dr. Morgan was conferred with an honorary D.Sc. degree from his Alma mater in 2003 and was elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2010.

He was the former executive editor of the journal Mutagenesis and was on the editorial board of Radiation Research,Environmental and Molecular MutagenesisJournal of Radiation Research, and Mutation Research. He has authored and co-authored close to 200 peer-reviewed journal articles.

Another major contribution of Dr. Morgan to the scientific community was his tireless advocacy for radiation research, and his strong support and mentorship to students and junior faculty. He was one of the most popular senior investigators at the Scholar-in-Training gathering at the annual Radiation Research Society meeting. His encouragement, support and career advice to many in the scientific community will be forever appreciated and missed.