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Sean Morrison, Director of CRI elected to prestigious National Academy of Sciences

Dr. Sean Morrison, Director of the Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern (CRI) and Professor of Pediatrics, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), one of the highest honors for American scientists.

Dr. Morrison is honored for his significant discoveries in stem cell biology and cancer. His achievements include pioneering new methods to purify stem cells from multiple tissues and discovering molecular mechanisms that allow stem cells to persist throughout life and regenerate tissues after injury.

“I appreciate the recognition of my laboratory’s work, and all of the talented students and postdocs who have worked in the lab over the years, many of whom are now running their own laboratories. Thank you as well to my colleagues and collaborators in CRI as well as in the broader UT Southwestern and Children’s Heath communities for the remarkable environment they have created for research,” said Dr. Morrison who is also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Investigator and was elected to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) in 2018. Becoming one of the extraordinary scientists honored with membership in both the NAS and NAM, signifies the enormity of his ground-breaking contributions.

“We are honored to have Sean’s visionary leadership of the Children’s Research Institute at UT Southwestern,” said Chris Durovich, president and CEO of Children’s Health. “His ground-breaking research is helping us understand how cancer cells function and is impacting science today – and will for many years to come. These discoveries are changing how cancer is diagnosed and treated and will improve the health of future generations. His work and his mentorship of other scientists provide a steppingstone for future discoveries. Congratulations on this extraordinary, most fitting recognition of Sean’s many contributions.”

Dr. Morrison was selected by his peers at the group’s annual meeting, which was held virtually this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Other UT Southwestern scientists inducted include Kim Orth, Ph.D.; Michael Rosen, Ph.D., and Sandra Schmid, Ph.D.  Together with Dr. Morrison, they are among 120 U.S. and 28 nonvoting foreign members elected this year. With the new elections, UT Southwestern will have 25 NAS members among its faculty, more than any other institution in Texas.

“We are delighted that the members of the National Academy of Sciences have honored the scientific accomplishments of Dr. Morrison and three of his faculty colleagues at UT Southwestern in fields ranging from stem cells, cancer biology, biophysics, microbial pathogens, and fundamental cellular processes,” said Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, president of UT Southwestern. “This recognition is not only a tribute to Sean Morrison and his fellow inductees, but to the longstanding commitment to research excellence at UTSW.”

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit institution that was established under a congressional charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. It recognizes achievement in science by election to membership, and – with the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Medicine – provides science, engineering, and health policy advice to the federal government and other organizations.

Dr. Morrison, who joined UT Southwestern in 2011 as director of CRI, earned a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry from Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada, and a Ph.D. in immunology at Stanford University. He then completed a postdoctoral fellowship in neurobiology at California Institute of Technology. Before coming to UT Southwestern, he was a professor at the University of Michigan, where he directed its Center for Stem Cell Biology.

Dr. Morrison served as the president of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (2015-2016) and has been active in public policy issues surrounding stem cell research. He is also a Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) Scholar in Cancer Research and a member of the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Morrison holds the Kathryne and Gene Bishop Distinguished Chair in Pediatric Research at CRI at UT Southwestern and the Mary McDermott Cook Chair in Pediatric Genetics.

Read more about the Dr. Morrison and the other UT Southwestern inductees here.

About CRI

Children’s Medical Center Research Institute (CRI) at UT Southwestern is a joint venture of UT Southwestern Medical Center and Children’s Medical Center Dallas, the flagship hospital of Children’s Health. CRI’s mission is to perform transformative biomedical research to better understand the biological basis of disease. Located in Dallas, Texas, CRI is home to interdisciplinary groups of scientists and physicians pursuing research at the interface of regenerative medicine, cancer biology, and metabolism. For more information, visit: cri.utsw.edu. To support CRI, visit: cri.utsw.edu/support/.

About UT Southwestern Medical Center

UT Southwestern, one of the premier academic medical centers in the nation, integrates pioneering biomedical research with exceptional clinical care and education. The institution’s faculty has received six Nobel Prizes, and includes 25 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 17 members of the National Academy of Medicine, and 14 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigators. The full-time faculty of more than 2,500 is responsible for groundbreaking medical advances and is committed to translating science-driven research quickly to new clinical treatments. UT Southwestern physicians provide care in about 80 specialties to more than 105,000 hospitalized patients, nearly 370,000 emergency room cases, and oversee approximately 3 million outpatient visits a year.

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