Lives of the fellows

Walter Thomas James Morgan

b.5 October 1900 d.10 February 2003
CBE(1959) FRS(1949) PhD London(1927) DSc(1937) DrSc Zurich(1938) Hon MD Basel(1964) Hon DSc Michigan(1969) Hon FRCP(1982) Hon FMedSci(2000)

Walter Morgan was an eminent biochemist, recognised for his pioneering work on the immunochemistry of antigens. He was born in Ilford, Essex, the son of Annie E and Walter Morgan, a solicitor's clerk in the law courts. After attending Raynes Foundation School in Ilford, he studied chemistry at London University. He started his research career in 1925, when he joined the department of biochemistry at the Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine, a postgraduate school of London University, to study for a PhD under (later Sir) Arthur Harden. The Lister Institute was Morgan's scientific home for the 50 years of his official working life.

From 1928 to 1937 he was first assistant and biochemist at the Institute's serum department at Elstree. In 1937 he was a Rockefeller research fellow in Zurich. He was a reader in biochemistry at the Institute from 1938 to 1951, and professor of biochemistry from1951 to 1968. From 1952 to 1968 he was deputy director of the Institute and director from 1972 to 1975.

He was honorary secretary of the Biochemical Society from 1940 to 1945, honorary secretary of the Biological Council from 1944 to 1947, and later chairman of the board of studies in biochemistry, University of London. He was a member of the Scientific Advisory Council from 1956 to 1960 and of the Medical Research Council from 1966 to 1970. He was elected to the Royal Society in 1949 and was vice-president from 1961 to 1964. At the College, he won the Conway Evans prize in 1964, and was elected an honorary Fellow in 1982. He published papers on biochemistry, immunology and pathology.

He married Dorothy Irene Price in 1930 and they had one son and two daughters. Dorothy died in 1993. He died in a nursing home in Cheam, Surrey.

RCP editor

[The Independent 25 Feb 2003]

(Volume XI, page 405)

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