Dr. William Opel, Director

President Emeritus, Huntington Medical Research Institutes

Dr. Opel began his career with a decade of laboratory work studying radiation effects on the nervous system, and then became program director of a multi-institutional NIH-sponsored cell biology project. In 1974 he moved into administration. One of his first endeavors in this new role was to recruit a team of physicians and scientists for prostatic cancer research, who then developed and characterized what is now one of the most widely used prostate cell lines.

In 1982 he combined three research groups affiliated with Huntington Memorial Hospital, a tertiary medical center and teaching hospital, to form the Huntington Medical Research Institutes. In 1982 he also launched one of the country’s first clinical magnetic resonance programs, which has gone on to win great acclaim in imaging applications development and in clinical spectroscopy, as well as in training of radiologists and other clinicians.

Bill organized HMRI into four main programs: neural engineering, brain mapping, molecular medicine and clinical research. With both NIH and industry support, the neural engineering program developed significant clinical technology, including the hydrocephalus shunt and electrical stimulators for epilepsy and deafness. In addition to its MR advances, the brain mapping program developed endoscopic stereotactic neurosurgical instrumentation and new methods for guiding epilepsy surgery with magnetoencephalography. For the molecular medicine program, Bill recruited laboratory physician-scientists in cancer genetics, neural proteomics and tissue engineering.

Bill also serves on the Board of the Pasadena City College Foundation.