In Memoriam: Professor Howard Morris

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IOF bids farewell to IFCC President Howard Morris, a leading scientist, educator and much-loved colleague whose work in the area of vitamin D and bone metabolism has been very important to the field.

It is with great sadness that IOF learned of the sudden death of Professor Howard Morris, President of the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry (IFCC), who passed away on April 18, 2019, while in Kazakhstan where he was lecturing as an IFCC Visiting Lecturer.

Professor Morris was an outstanding medical scientist, educator and administrator. He will be remembered for his many important contributions to clinical chemistry and laboratory medicine worldwide, especially in the area of bone metabolism and vitamin D. He was passionate about his work, contributing enormously to IFCC Committees, including in his most recent role as President of IFCC.

IOF was greatly honoured to count Howard Morris as chair of the IFCC-IOF Joint Working Group on Standardization of Bone Turnover Markers from 2012-2017. During this time, the Working Group published influential papers on the identification of consensus reference standard marker for bone resorption (CTX) and for bone formation (P1NP) for fracture risk assessment and monitoring of osteoporosis treatment. The group also reviewed the performance of the assays for the standard markers and recommended requirements for standardization of their measurements.

IOF President Cyrus Cooper stated: “On behalf of the entire IOF family, I wish to extend my sincere condolences to Howard’s wife Helen, family and friends. Howard will be remembered as a true gentleman, a much-loved colleague, and a friend to the bone community. His passing is a great loss to all of us.”

About Professor Howard Morris

Howard Morris held a joint appointment as Professor of Medical Science in the School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, University of South Australia and Clinical Scientist in Chemical Pathology at SA Pathology, Adelaide Australia. Between 2012 and 2014 he served as IFCC Vice-president, between 2003 and 2008 he was the Secretary of the Scientific Division of the IFCC and has served as Chair the IFCC-International Osteoporosis Foundation Joint Working Group on Standardization of Bone Turnover Markers (2012-2017) and as a member of the IFCC Task Forces on the Global Campaign on Diabetes Mellitus (2003- 2008) and on International Clinical Liaison (2009-2011).

Within the Asia Pacific Federation of Clinical Biochemistry (APFCB) he served as Chair, Scientific Committee (2002-2004) and Chair, Scientific Organising Committee, Member Organising Committee for 10th Asian Pacific Congress of Clinical Biochemistry (2002-2005). He was the Australasian Association of Clinical Biochemists (AACB) representative to the Councils of the IFCC and APFCB (1998-2004), served on AACB Council (1998-2002) and Editor of the Clinical Biochemist Reviews (1994-2002). He was awarded an AACB Outstanding Service Medallion (2003) and the W. Roman Travelling Lectureship (2004). Dr Morris was a Clinical Scientist in the Chemical Pathology Directorate, SA Pathology providing clinical advice and comments in the discipline. He had 30 years’ experience working in diagnostic clinical biochemistry in the field of immunoassay and endocrinology including management of a major clinical endocrinology laboratory. In 1997/98, the laboratory reported some 245,000 patient results. Between 2003 and 2009 he was the Director of the Hanson Institute, the research arm of the IMVS and RAH. In 2009 the Hanson Institute administered infrastructure to support the research of some 300 staff and 100 postgraduate students who generated external grants amounting to approximately $AUD 30 million annually.

Professor Morris led an active research team that has received over $10 million in competitive research grants and has published 280 refereed publications, reviews and book chapters. His research interest includes the pathophysiology of metabolic bone disease and the effects of hormones including vitamin D funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council and Australian Research Council, the major competitive funding bodies in Australia. His latest work identified anabolic actions of vitamin D following metabolism within bone tissue providing a molecular mechanism for vitamin D requirement to reduce the risk of fractures amongst the elderly. He was awarded the Louis Avioli Memorial Lectureship for 2009 by the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research on this topic.

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