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Head of the Nuffield Department of Surgery 1972-2001

Sir Peter Morris

Professor Sir Peter Morris, an Australian, is Nuffield Professor of Surgery Emeritus, and former Chairman of the Department of Surgery and Director of the Oxford Transplant Centre, University of Oxford and Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals.  Following his appointment in 1973, at the age of 39, as Nuffield Professor of Surgery at the University of Oxford he founded the Oxford Transplant Centre, established a major vascular unit and developed an internationally renowned research programme in transplant immunology. Later he was a cofounder with John Bell of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics.  Not long before his impending retirement he was elected as President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England (the only surgeon from Oxford to be so appointed in over 200 years) and served as President from 2001 to 2004.

He then established the Centre for Evidence in Transplantation (CET) at the Royal College of Surgeons and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, where he holds an Honorary Professorship, and the Nuffield Department of Surgery. The CET evaluates the quality of evidence in the field of organ transplantation and has been responsible for the development of an electronic library of all randomised controlled trials in organ transplantation. The CET is closely associated with the European Society of Organ Transplantation. He has served as Chairman of the British Heart Foundation and currently is President of the Medical Protection Society which provides medical indemnity for some 250,000 physicians worldwide.   

He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1994 and as a Foundation Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 1998. In the USA he was elected as a Foreign Member of both the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.   He has been awarded numerous Honorary Fellowships, including those of the American Surgical Association, the American College of Surgeons, the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, German Surgical Society, Japanese Surgical Society, Singapore Academy of Medicine and the Royal Colleges of Surgeons of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Ireland and the Colleges of Physicians of Edinburgh and London. In addition he has been awarded Honorary DSc’s by Imperial College, London and the University of Hong Kong, and an Honorary Doctorate of Laws, University of Melbourne. He has served as a visiting Professor in some 50 institutions and delivered over 30 eponymous lectures worldwide, the most recent being the Halford Oration on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Melbourne University Medical School in 2012. Of note amongst his non-surgical interests he has been a castaway on Desert Island Discs.

His professional scientific career has revolved around transplantation and transplantation biology, with a major interest in the immune response to histocompatibility antigens and its suppression. In addition to his work in transplantation, in the earlier part of his career he made many contributions to the knowledge of the association between HLA and disease, as well as playing a major part in the early anthropological studies of HLA around the Pacific rim.  His clinical interests have been in transplantation and vascular surgery. 

He is a former President of The Transplantation Society (International), the British Transplantation Society, the European Surgical Association and the International Surgical Society.  He has received many prizes for his work, the most prestigious of which are the Lister Medal, the Medawar Prize and the ISS prize.  He is the editor of Kidney Transplantation:  Principles and Practice, which is now in its 7th edition, and the Oxford Textbook of Surgery, which is in its 2nd edition and is the series editor of the Oxford Textbooks of Surgery which will replace the 3rd edition. He has published over 700 scientific articles and is among the 200 most cited authors in clinical medicine worldwide. In 1996 he was knighted by the Queen for services to medicine and in 2004 was made a Companion of the Order of Australia (the highest award in Australia) for services to medical sciences.