The annual award is given to a faculty member selected by WashU Nephrology fellows.
“I personally knew Nathan during his early years in St. Louis and as an MD/PhD student, so this award has special significance for me,” says Dr. Morrison.
Born in Guyana, British West Indies, Morrison traveled to Great Britain and earned his medical degree from the University of London in 1970. He then came to WashU because of its rotating internship program. He stayed to complete his residency and fellowships in nephrology (1975) and pharmacology (1978) at Barnes Hospital. He subsequently joined WashU as an instructor in the department of medicine.
As a physician-scientist, Morrison has mentored many fellows and research scientists in his 40+ years on the faculty here. A pioneer in the study of inflammatory processes in the body, his research has focused on chronic kidney disease and how cytokine proteins and prostaglandins interact to control the body’s response to inflammation, injury, or illness. His research resulted in major contributions to the understanding of the role that COX-2 plays in the body’s response to inflammation, as well as prostaglandin’s role in obstructive kidney disease.
In 1982, Morrison was elected into the American Society of Clinical Investigation (he was one of only four African American men elected to ASCI pre-2000). The ASCI is an honorary society that exists to “recognize, support, and promote the work of young physician-scientists, towards the overall goal of improving the health of all people.”
Morrison was recognized with the Award of Excellence from the National Kidney Foundation of Missouri, and in 2011 was named a Master of the American College of Physicians (ACP). He was the first physician from WashU to receive the ACP’s Award for Outstanding Work in Science as Related to Medicine. Morrison served as director of the Renal Fellowship Training Program from 2008-2011. In 2016, the Washington University Medical Center Alumni Association presented its Faculty Achievement Award to Morrison in honor of his distinguished service at WashU and for his outstanding contributions to advance the understanding and treatment of renal disease.
The Nathan Hellman Memorial Teaching Award was established in 2018 through a donation from former WashU nephrology fellow Richard Hellman, MD, and his wife, Patricia, in memory of their son, Nathan E. Hellman, who earned his MD/PhD at WashU. After completing his residency at University of Pennsylvania, Nathan began his nephrology training at the Massachusetts General Hospital Joint Nephrology Fellowship Program in 2007. Nathan established the Renal Fellow Network on April 23, 2008, and the site continues as a vibrant educational forum to this day. Nathan was completing his nephrology research fellowship and was to be appointed a faculty member when he passed away unexpectedly on February 13, 2010. He was 36 years old.