Nancy Magnuson and John Nilson Retire

This spring the School of Molecular Biosciences said farewell to esteemed faculty members Drs. Nancy Magnuson and John Nilson.

Nancy S. Magnuson - 2010

Nancy Magnuson was one of the first to identify how the PIM-1 gene, a proto-oncogene, contributes to cancer development. Over nearly 30 years, she also worked with dozens of students, undergraduate and graduate, to help them achieve their academic and professional goals. Magnuson earned her doctorate from WSU in 1978 and joined the WSU faculty as a research assistant professor in 1981. She also served as the director of the NSF funded ADVANCE grant program that promotes the careers of women in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines in academia. In 2010, Magnuson was selected by her peers to give the WSU Distinguished Faculty Address, one of the University’s highest honors, recognizing the achievements of one faculty member in research, scholarship, and teaching. The Dr. Nancy Magnuson Immunology Scholarship was established to support students pursuing a degree in immunology and to honor one of the college’s most esteemed faculty members.

For more information on how you can support this scholarship, visit


John Nilson headshot 12.10

John Nilson joined WSU as Edward Meyer Distinguished Professor and director of the School of Molecular Biosciences in 2003. He served as director for a decade before stepping down in 2013 to focus on developing a new umbrella graduate pro-gram in the college titled Integrated Programs in Biomedical Science. This summer, he was named a fellow of the Consortium of West Regional Colleges of Veterinary Medicine Teaching Academy. Dr. Nilson, whose research has been funded continuously by the National Institutes for Health for over 34 years, has had a longstanding interest in understanding the molecular mechanisms involved in temporal, spatial, and hormone-regulated expression of the genes in the pituitary that encode reproductive hormones. He has served as the editor-in-chief of Molecular Endocrinology and as president of the Society for the Study of Reproduction. He received the Beacon in Reproductive Research Award from the Frontiers in Reproduction Program and the Sidney H. Ingbar Distinguished Service Award from the Endocrine Society. Under his supervision, 14 students completed graduate degrees, and he has trained 19 postdoctoral scientists. Almost all have gone on to successful careers in academics or biotechnology companies. Dr. Nilson plans to retire to Taos, New Mexico.