The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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June 5, 2014

Richard J. Mural

GAITHERSBURG, MD. — MURAL – Richard J., Ph.D., 66, Johnstown, and Gaithersburg, Md., died May 29, 2014, in Rockville, Md., as the result of complications from cancer. Dr. Mural was born in Cleveland, Ohio, to Myrtle (Pratt) and the late William Mural. He received his bachelor’s degree in zoology (with honors) from the University of Michigan in 1969 and a doctorate in zoology from the University of Georgia in 1978. From 1978 to 1985, Dr. Mural served as a staff scientist at the National Cancer Institute - Frederick Cancer Research Facility, and an instructor in the graduate biology program at Hood College, Frederick, Md. In 1985, Dr. Mural moved to the biology division of Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Oak Ridge, Tenn.). While there, he co-invented one of the earliest and most widely-used gene-finding and gene prediction programs, GRAIL, which was recognized by an R&D 100 Award from Research & Development Magazine in 1992. Between 2000 and 2005, Dr. Mural was the director of scientific content at Celera Corp. (Rockville, Md.), one of the earliest and most successful commercial ventures of the “Genome Era.” He contributed to the research resulting in decoding the DNA sequences for the human, mouse and Anopheles gambiae genomes. For his work, Dr. Mural was named an “unsung hero” of the Human Genome Project by Science magazine in 2001. Since 2005, Dr. Mural has served as the chief scientific officer of Windber Research Institute, which is leading tissue banking efforts for John P. Murtha Cancer Center at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. He also was part of the Breast Cancer Data Analysis Working Group of The Cancer Genome Atlas project, and served as an associate editor for the scientific journal Genomics. During his scientific career, he authored more than 65 book and journal manuscripts, and he gave numerous scientific presentations in the United States and abroad. During the past two years of his life, Dr. Mural used his knowledge of DNA sequence analysis and cancer genomics in his fight against both lung cancer and malignant melanoma. At the time of his death, he was participating in a clinical trial for an investigational new drug to combat melanoma, personally contributing to the scientific knowledge of this disease. Richard Mural’s survivors include his mother, Myrtle Mural, Northfield, Ohio; wife of 24 years, Dr. Jane Gallager Mural, Gaithersburg, Md.; daughter, Rachel Mural, Gaithersburg, Md.; son, Dr. Zachary (Megan) Mural; granddaughter, Molly, Centreville, Va.; and brother, Greg (Annette) Mural, Northfield, Ohio. A celebration of Dr. Mural’s life and accomplishments will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, contributions are requested in his name to Murtha Cancer Center at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Md.; Clinical Breast Care Project at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Md.; or Windber Research Institute, Windber.

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