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David Morgan


David Morgan

David Morgan joined the department in January 1971 as a post-graduate student in Biophysics, having completed his BE at Adelaide. Morgan was attracted to Monash University by the presence of Professor Doug Lampard and the Biophysics Laboratory. Morgan became interested in Medical Engineering after spending six months in hospital after a motorcycle accident.

David Morgan completed his PhD in the department in 1976 in the area of muscle physiology supervised by Doug Lampard and Ian Brown. In 1977 he went to Boston as a post-doctoral student with Fred Julian at Boston Biomedical Research Institute working on frog single fibre mechanics. He returned to the Department of Electrical Engineering as Lecturer in 1981.

A sabbatical leave in 1987-8 at with Tom McMahon at Harvard University led to the 'Popping sarcomere hypothesis', and his most cited paper. Testing predictions of this hypothesis on toads, rats, and humans formed the basis of his research for the next 20 years. Mostly done in collaboration with Uwe Proske in Physiology, this led into work on the prevention and rehabilitation of hamstring injuries, working with AFL and other sporting clubs. The work on single fibres continued with trips to Boston and another sabbatical in 1995.

Morgan was made Reader in 1992, and in 2003 the only personal chair in the department’s history. These were subsequently abolished when Professor by promotion was introduced. Morgan became Head of Department in September 2004. Morgan’s research interests include biomedical engineering, particularly fundamental muscle mechanics. He is an Honorary Senior Lecturer in Physiology and has worked on collaborations with the Physiology Department at Monash and Harvard University. He was Research Director of the Centre for Biomedical Engineering.

He worked to further the integration of staff from the various campuses, and to prepare the department for the decline in student number following the collapse of the 'dot.com' bubble. This was a period of increasing emphasis on quality of teaching and research, with the development of metrics. It was also a time when many of the original staff retired, and recruitment finally became possible after many years of constraint. In 2006, the course was restructured with electives offered to both level 3 and 4 in alternating years, as a way of maintaining elective availability while reducing teaching loads.

Morgan stepped down when Arthur Lowery was deemed ready to take over at the beginning of 2007, and officially retired in mid 2007, though teaching to the end of that year.