UW News

December 2, 2004

New lecture series honors Biochemistry Department’s Milton Gordon

Dr. Milton P. Gordon, professor emeritus of biochemistry and a UW faculty member for 45 years, will be honored next week when the Department of Biochemistry presents the first in a series of annual lectures named for him.

Dr. Steven Strauss, professor of forest science at Oregon State University, will speak on “Genetically Modified Organisms, Trees and Public Policy: Cutting Through the Chaos” at 3 p.m., Friday, Dec. 10 in 132 Hitchcock Hall. The lecture is open to everyone.

Strauss is director of OSU’s Tree Biosafety and Genomics Research Cooperative, a university/public agency/industry consortium conducting research and education on the biosafety and physiology of genetically engineered trees used in plantation forestry and horticulture. He also directs the OSU Program for Outreach in Resource Biotechnology, aimed at promoting public understanding of biotechnology issues, and has joint appointments in genetics and molecular and cellular biology. He holds degrees from Cornell, Yale and the University of California at Berkeley.

Strauss has served on panels for the National Research Council, the National Science Foundation and the Department of Agriculture. His current research focuses on genetic engineering of flowering and the functional genomics of trees.

Gordon, for whom the lecture is named, joined the UW Department of Biochemistry in 1959 after graduating from the University of Minnesota and earning a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Illinois. He was a postdoctoral fellow and a research assistant at Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research in New York and worked in the virus laboratories at the University of California at Berkeley before coming to Seattle.

Gordon is best known for his research work on crown gall tumors in plants and for his development of poplar trees that can clear contamination from soil and groundwater, a process known as phytoremediation.

He led the department as acting chair in 1984-85 and was recognized as an outstanding teacher and mentor. A full biography, written by his wife Sunnie Gordon and complete with photos, has been posted at