RGE Murray Lectureship
Microbiology in Canada received national attention when Professor Emeritus R.G.E. Murray, University of Western Ontario, was appointed as an officer of the Order of Canada. He was honoured for his lifetime contributions to the development of microbiology in Canada.
The Canadian Society of Microbiologists owes a special debt of gratitude to Dr. Murray. He was chairman of the Founding Committee for the Society, 1950-1951 and Founding President, 1951-1952. The Society, he said, was "a much-needed catalyst and unifier for the diverse applied and basic microbiologists of the country". He has remained an active member of the Society throughout his scientific career and was elected an honorary member in 1985.
Societies and their journals, particularly the Canadian and American Societies, continued to be important to Dr. Murray over the years. He persuaded the National Research Council of Canada that a microbiology journal was a justifiable publication and was appointed the founding editor of the Canadian Journal of Microbiology, 1954-1960. Prior to this appointment, he was a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Bacteriology, 1951-1954, and again from 1980-1986. He found his editorship of Bacteriological (later Microbiological, then Microbiology and Molecular Biology) Reviews, 1969-1979, to be a challenge, during which he honed his editorial skills. This involvement with the review journal increased his interest in the affairs of the American Society for Microbiology. He was elected President, 1972-1973, and an honorary member in 1988. He was also elected an honorary member of the Society for Applied Bacteriology in 1988.
One of Dr. Murray's passions in life has been taxonomy. He inherited this interest honestly from his father, E.G.D. Murray, who was a trustee of Bergey's Manual of Determinative Bacteriology, 1936-1964. After his father's death in 1964, he was asked to join the Bergey's Manual Board of Trustees, and thus began another long association of a Murray with Bergey's Manual. He was Chairman of the Board of Trustees from 1976-1990. He has been a member of the International Committee for Systematic Bacteriology (International Association of Microbiological Societies) since 1962, and chairman from 1982-1990. He was elected an honorary member of ICSB in 1990. He was associate editor of the International Journal of Systematic Bacteriology, 1982-1990 and editor from 1991-1994, and he was a member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Bacterial Diseases Network of Centres of Excellence in an advisory capacity.
Dr. Murray's research in bacterial cytology, structure and function, and systematics and taxonomy has brought numerous honours and awards: the Harrison Prize, Royal Society of Canada (shared with C.F. Robinow), 1957; Fellowship in the Royal Society of Canada, 1958; the Canadian Society of Microbiologists Award, 1963; election to the American Academy of Microbiology, 1973; the Flavelle Medal, Royal Society of Canada, 1984; and the J. Roger Porter Award, American Society for Microbiology (U.S. Federation of Culture Collections), 1987. He also holds honorary degrees from the University of Western Ontario and the University of Guelph and was granted the degree Doctor of Science honoris causa by McGill University in 2007. And, many of his students and postdoctoral fellows continue the fine road in microbiology he has forged for them.
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