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Sarah L. Morgan, MD, MS, RD, FADA, FACP, CCD

Sarah L. Morgan, MD, MS, RD, FADA, FACP, CCD
Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology
830 Faculty Office Tower
510 20th Street South
Birmingham, AL 35294-3408
Telephone:(205) 934-3235
Fax:(205) 934-4602


Biographical Sketch


Dr. Morgan is Professor of Nutrition Science and Medicine. She currently holds an appointment in the Division of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham as a Professor of Medicine

Dr. Morgan obtained two bachelor's degrees in nutrition and dietetics and nutrition and dietetics from Iowa State University. She obtained her medical degree from the University of Iowa in 1981 and completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at the University of Iowa in 1984. She completed a post doctoral fellowship in clinical nutrition at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and obtained a master's degree in clinical nutrition at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 1987. She was a faculty member in the UAB Department of Nutrition Sciences and a professor Nutrition Sciences and Medicine until December 2010. In January 2011 she moved to the Division of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology in the University of Alabama in Birmingham. She is the current medical director of the UAB Osteoporosis Prevention and Treatment Clinic and the UAB Bone Densitometry Service. The UAB Bone Densitometry Service was accredited by the International Society for Clinical Densitometry in 2011.

Dr. Morgan is a member of the American Dietetics Association, the American Society of Nutrition, The American Society of Bone and Mineral Research and the International Society for Clinical Densitometry. She served as the President for the International Society for Clinical Densitometry from 2011-2012 and current serves on the International Society for Clinical Densitometry Board and is a teacher in the Bone Density Course and the Vertebral Fracture Assessment course.

Dr. Morgan's research interests are around folic acid metabolism during methotrexate therapy for rheumatoid arthritis. Along with Dr. Joseph E Baggott, she described folic acid supplementation during low dose methotrexate therapy as a way to lower the toxicity of low dose methotrexate therapy. She has also been involved in investigations related to the mechanism of action of low-dose methotrexate (i.e. inhibition of AICAR transformylase). She is currently the CO-PI of a R34 grant to plan a larger trial related to the discontinuation of biological agents during methotrexate therapy for RA.

Dr. Morgan also has an interest in research related to dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry and participates in clinical trials related to osteoporosis in the Division of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology.


Professor of Medicine,Division of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology
Scientist- Center for Metabolic Bone Disease, Obesity Center, Aging Center, and Arthritis Center


BS (Nutrition and Dietetics), Iowa State University, 1977
BS (Nutrition and Related Sciences), Iowa State University, 1977
MD, The University of Iowa, 1981
Internship and Residence in Internal Medicine, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, 1981-1984
Fellowship (Clinical Nutrition), The University of Alabama at Birmingham, 1984-1986
MS (Nutrition), The University of Alabama at Birmingham, 1987


  • C.E. Butterworth Award, UAB - 1986
  • Outstanding Young Alumna, Iowa State University, 1991
  • Outstanding Young Alumna, UAB Department of Nutrition Sciences, School of Health Related Professions
  • Distinguished Achievement Citation, Iowa State University, 1999
  • Outstanding UAB Woman Faculty Member, 2001
  • Distinguished Alumlnus Award for Achievement, University of Iowa 2007
  • UAB School of Health Professions - Member of "Fab 40" - 2009
  • Sam Brown Bridge Builder Award, UAB, 2010
  • President, International Society for Clinical Densitometry, 2011-2012

Research Description

Dr. Morgan's research program has been focused on methotrexate and folic acid metabolism in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Her work with Dr. Joseph E Baggott and members of the Division of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology (Drs. Graciela Alarcon, Dr. William Koopman, Dr. S Louis Bridges, and Dr. Laura Hughes) have established the folic acid supplementation during low dose methotrexate therapy for rheumatoid arthritis lowers toxicity without affecting efficacy. Drs Morgan and Baggott have also studied purine metabolism and methotrexate therapy in rat adjuvant arthritis and participate in trials related to methotrexate pharmacogenetics. Dr. Morgan and Dr. Baggott have also investigated the effects of a medical food on osteoarthritis.

Dr. Morgan is currently working on a NIH grant submission with Dr. Jeffrey Curtis related to discontinuation of anti-TNF drugs in individuals in remission of rheumatoid arthritis on methotrexate and an anti-TNF agent.

As the Medical Director of the UAB Osteoporosis Prevention and Treatment Clinic, Dr. Morgan has an interest in bone densitometry and clinical trials related to osteoporosis.

Selected Publications

  • Morgan SL, Baggott JE, Altz-Smith M.  1987. Folate status of rheumatoid arthritis patients on long-term, low-dose methotrexate therapy.  Arthritis Rheum; 30: 1348-56. PMID:3124860
  • Morgan SL, Baggott JE, Vaughn WH, Young PK, Austin JV, Krumdieck CL, Alarcón GS.  1990. The effect of folic acid supplementation on the toxicity of low-dose methotrexate treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.  Arthritis Rheum 33:  9-18. PMID: 2405864
  • Morgan SL, Baggott JE, Vaughn WH, Austin JS, Veitch TA, Lee JY, Koopman WJ, Krumdieck CL, Alarcón GS. 1994. Supplementation with folic acid during methotrexate therapy of rheumatoid arthritis: results from a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.  Ann Intern Med 121: 833-841. PMID:7978695
  • Morgan SL, Baggott JE, Lee JY, Alarcón GS.  1998. Folic acid supplementation prevents deficient blood folate levels and hyperhomocysteinemia during long-term, low dose methotrexate therapy for rheumatoid arthritis: Implications for cardiovascular disease prevention.  J Rheumatol 25: 441-446. PMID:9517760
  • Morgan SL, Baggott JE, Alarcon GS, Bernreuter W, Arani R.  2001. Separation of inflammation and destructive response - MTX affects inflammation and tissue destruction different in the rat AA model, J Rheumatol 28: 1476-81. PMID:11469449
  • Goodson T, Morgan SL, Carlee JR, Baggott JE.  2003. The energy cost of adjuvant-induced arthritis in rats.  Arthritis Rheum 48: 2979-2982. PMID:14558105
  • Morgan SL, Abercrombie W, Lee JY.  2003. Need for precision studies at individual institutions and assessment of size of regions of interest on serial DXA scans. J Clin Densitometry, 6: 97-101. PMID: 12794231
  • Morgan SL, Chen DS, Carlee J, Baggott JE.  2004. Effect of methotrexate on bone mineral density and body composition in rat adjuvant arthritis.  J Rheumatol 31a;1693-7. PMID:15338486
  • Morgan SL, Oster RA, Lee JY, Alarcón GS, Baggott JE.  2004. The effect of folic acid and folinic acid supplements on purine metabolism in methotrexate-treated rheumatoid arthritis.  Arthritis Rheum 50:3104-3111. PMID:15476202
  • Baggott JE, Bridges SL, Morgan SL.  2005. Evidence for two phenotypes in the metabolism of methotrexate to 7-hydroxymethotrexate in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.  Arthritis Rheum 52: 356-358. PMID:15641087
  • Morgan SL, Baggott JE.  2006. Medical Foods: Products for the Management of Chronic Diseases.  Nutrition Reviews 64: 495-501. PMID:17131945
  • Baggott JE, Morgan SL.  2007. Methotrexate and erythro-9-(2-hydroxynon-3-yl) adenine therapy for rat adjuvant arthritis and the effect of methotrexate on in vivo purine metabolism.  Euro J Pharm Sci 31: 95-101. PMID:17408934
  • Morgan SL, Lopez-Ben R, Nunnally N, Burroughs L, Fineberg N, Tubbs SH, Yester MV.  2008. "Black hole artifacts": a New Potential Pitfall for DXA Accuracy, J Clin Densitometry 11:266-275. PMID:18291695
  • Morgan SL, Lopez-Ben R, Nunnally N, Burroughs L, Fineberg N, Tubbs SH, Yester MV.  2008. The effect of common artifacts lateral to the spine on bone mineral density in the lumbar spine.  J Clin Densitometry,11:243-249. PMID:18291694
  • Mann ML, Thornley-Brown D, Campbell R, Bell E, Feng R, Morgan SL.  2008. The effect of peritoneal dialysate on DXA bone densitometry results in patients with end-stage renal disease. J Clin Densitom 11:532-6. PMID:18809346
  • Morgan SL, Baggott JE, Moreland L, Desmond R, Kendrach AC.  2009. The safety of flavocoxid, a medical food, in the dietary management of knee osteoarthritis.  J Medicinal Food 12: 1143-1148. PMID:19857081
  • Baggott JE, Morgan SL.  2009. Methotrexate catabolism to 7-hydroxymethotrexate in rheumatoid arthritis alters drug efficacy and retention and is reduced by folic acid supplementation.  Arthritis Rheum 60:2257-2261. PMID:19644884
  • Morgan SL.  2009. Nutrition and bone: it is more than calcium and vitamin D.  Women's Health 5: 727-737. PMID:19863475
  • Danila MI, Hughes LB, Brown EE, Morgan SL, Baggott JE, Arnett DK, Bridges SL Jr  2010. Measurement of erythrocyte methotrexate polyglutamate levels: ready for clinical use in rheumatoid arthritis?  Curr Rheumatol Rep 12: 342-7. PMID:20665136
  • Binkley N, Krueger DC, Morgan S, Wiebe D.  2010. Current status of clinical 25-hydroxyvitamin D measurement: An assessment of between-laboratory agreement.  Clin Chim Acata 13: 283-91. PMID: 20713030
  • Morgan SL, Baggott JE.  2010. Folate supplementation during methotrexate therapy for rheumatoid arthritis.  Clin Exp Rheumatol 28 (Suppl 61): S102-109. PMID:21044441
  • Pitt MJ, Morgan SL, Lopez-Ben R, Stellman RE, Nunnally N, Burroughs L, Fineberg N.  Association of the presence of bone bars on radiographs and low bone mineral density.  Skeletal Radiol, 40:905-911. PMID:21243354
  • Baggott JE, Gorman GS, Morgan SL. 2011. Phenotypes and circadian rhythm in utilization of formate in purine nucleotide biosynthesis de novo in adult humans. Life Sci. 88(15-16):688-92. PMID: 21324323
  • Kiebzak GM, Morgan SL.  2011. Long-term vs. short-term precision of dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry scans and the impact of interpreting change in bone mineral density at follow-up.  J Clinical Densitometry  14: 108-115.