David O. Morgan, PhD, has been selected as the recipient of the 59th Annual Faculty Research Lectureship – Basic Science for his groundbreaking research on cell division.
Since 1957, the award has been bestowed on a member of the UC San Francisco faculty who has made a distinguished record in basic science. Nominations are made by University faculty, who consider scientific research contributions of their colleagues and submit nominations for this prestigious award to the Academic Senate Committee on Research, which selects the award recipient.
Morgan, vice chair and a professor in the Department of Physiology and a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, on March 17 delivered his lecture, which was titled “Chasing Ghosts in the Cell Cycle Machine.”
A world leader in understanding the mechanisms that control the cell division cycle, Morgan has exploited powerful biochemical and genetic tools to explore the regulatory system that guides the eukaryotic cell through the stages of cell division. This work has revealed detailed properties of key regulatory proteins, including the cyclin-dependent protein kinases and an ubiquitin ligase known as the Anaphase-Promoting Complex. His signature contributions include the discovery of numerous regulators and targets of these enzymes. His discoveries have revealed the intricacies of the circuits that control cell reproduction, and they represent foundational contributions to a central problem in biology.
Morgan’s textbook, The Cell Cycle: Principles of Control, has emerged as the authoritative work on the topic. He is also an author of the influential general cell biology text Molecular Biology of the Cell.
One of UCSF’s most highly regarded and decorated teachers, Morgan gives lectures on cardiovascular physiology that have been recognized with the UCSF Medical School Teaching Award for Outstanding Lecture Series six times, as well as the Kaiser Award for Excellence in Teaching. He also makes major contributions to graduate teaching, and he received the Outstanding Faculty Mentorship Award from the UCSF Graduate Students Association. For his scientific contributions, Morgan was recently elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society.
He is the director of the UCSF Tetrad Graduate Program, one of the nation’s premier programs in cell biology, genetics and biochemistry. He received his PhD from UCSF, where he also completed postdoctoral training. He joined the University faculty in 1989.
See a list of the past recipients of the Faculty Research Lectureship – Basic Science award.
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