At its 44th annual meeting in the nation’s capital last week, the Association of Independent Research Institutes (AIRI) named Mike D. “Chip” Morgan as its president-elect. Morgan is the vice president of business operations at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation.
AIRI is a nationwide association of 89 independent, not-for-profit research institutes, including two Oklahoma institutions: OMRF and the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation in Ardmore. Together, AIRI institutes secured more than $1.5 billion in research funding from the National Institutes of Health in 2004. OMRF was responsible for $27.7 million of this figure, ranking it 14th among AIRI institutions.
As president, Morgan plans to advocate on issues that affect independent research institutes and their ability to conduct research into the understanding and treatment of disease. “In these times of tight budgets, it is key that Congress sustains funding for biomedical research,” said Morgan. “Medical research is a long-term process, and if we’re going to meet the challenge of continuing to improve human health, we can’t let our commitment wane.”
AIRI scientists include nine Nobel laureates and have been responsible for, among other things, developing the vaccine for polio. “Independent research institutes have played a crucial role in improving human health through research,” said Morgan. “Their small size and lean administrative structures have created an ideal scientific environment, one that is particularly suited to creativity and innovation.”
Morgan earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Oklahoma and his M.B.A. at Oklahoma City University. He joined OMRF’s staff in 1969 and has been vice president of business operations since 1993.
Chartered in 1946, OMRF (www.omrf.org) is a nonprofit biomedical research institute dedicated to understanding and curing human disease. Its scientists focus on such critical research areas as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, lupus and cardiovascular disease. OMRF is home to Oklahoma’s only member of the National Academy of Sciences.