At its 46th annual meeting this week in San Antonio, the Association of Independent Research Institutes (AIRI) will name Mike D. “Chip” Morgan as its president. Morgan, the executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, will serve a two-year term.
AIRI is a nationwide association of 88 independent, not-for-profit research institutes conducting peer- research in the biomedical and behavioral sciences. It includes two Oklahoma institutions: OMRF and the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation in Ardmore.
Together, AIRI institutes secured approximately $1.5 billion in research funding from the National Institutes of Health in 2006. OMRF was responsible for $25 million of this figure, ranking it 15th 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 seven 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 particularly suited to creativity and innovation.”
An Oklahoma City native, 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.
OMRF (omrf.org) is an independent, nonprofit biomedical research institute dedicated to understanding and developing more effective treatments for human disease. Chartered in 1946, its scientists focus on such critical research areas as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, lupus and cardiovascular disease.