Professor Emeritus Trevor C. McMorris, a resident of La Jolla, passed away Tuesday, February 19, 2013, following a long illness with Parkinson's disease. He was born in Kingston, Jamaica, on March 23, 1930. His middle name, Calthorpe, was in homage to an English cricket star whose team was touring the West Indies.
In 1953 McMorris was a member of the first graduating class of the University of the West Indies. He received his Ph.D. from Imperial College, London, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Western Ontario, where he met his first wife, Helen. In 1960 he took a research position at the New York Botanical Garden. A member of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department faculty at UCSD since 1973, his research focused on the design and synthesis of analogs of natural substances, such as the antitumor agent illudin, derived from poisonous Jack O'Lantern mushrooms, and the plant hormone brassinolide. A less toxic analog of illudin, irofulven was developed as a possible cure for pancreatic cancer by MGI Pharma, which was bought in 2007 by Eisai Pharmaceuticals. Ironically, his first wife, Helen, had died in 1981 of pancreatic cancer. Retired since 2001, McMorris was known as one of the department's best teachers.
He is survived by his wife of 28 years, Georgette; four step-sons; seven grandchildren; a sister; and two brothers.
A memorial will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, April 19, 2013, in the Large Conference Room of Neural Circuits and Behavior (Building 805, formerly the Center for Molecular Genetics) at UCSD.