Newly created Morningside Professorship honors noted radiation scientist

Morningside Foundation Director Gerald Chan, SM '75, SD '79

Morningside Foundation Director Gerald Chan, SM '75, SD '79

Spring/Summer 2012 ]

A $4 million gift from the Morningside Foundation will fund the creation of an endowed professorship in radiobiology at the John B. Little Center for Radiation Science in the Department of Genetics and Complex Diseases at Harvard School of Public Health.

Morningside Foundation Director Gerald Chan, SM ’75, SD ’79, studied radiobiology at HSPH in the 1970s with John B. Little, now a professor emeritus. Chan, who came to HSPH after earning an undergraduate engineering degree at UCLA, went on to found Morningside, a venture capital group with investments in both America and China. While studying radiation physics at HSPH, he discovered exciting developments across the spectrum of life sciences. “To me, the mysteries of life provide endless fascination,” he says.

The new Morningside Professorship in Radiobiology is meant to honor Little, who, in a career spanning nearly half a century, has made important contributions to a field that plays a major role in medical imaging, cancer treatment, and nuclear energy, as well as assessing the public’s exposure to radiation from metal detectors and cosmic rays, and preventing the threat of dirty bombs from terrorist groups.

Chan hopes that Morningside’s support will help further HSPH’s objective of coupling laboratory science with the study of health at the population level. “This combination,” he says, “makes the Harvard School of Public Health a unique place that needs to be celebrated.”