Professor Moran was educated at the University of Notre Dame (B.S., electrical engineering, 1963) and at M.I.T. (Ph.D., electrical engineering, 1968). His PhD thesis was based on measurements of the structure of cosmic masers.
With others, he received the Rumford Prize of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1971 for his role in developing the technique of very long baseline interferometry.
Professor Moran spent many years developing the technique of VLBI and managing the US VLBI Network. Later he was part of the design team for the Very Long Baseline Array. He was the project director for the Submillimeter Array, a pathfinder for ALMA, from 1995 to 2004 during its construction phase. He is the coauthor of the textbook “Interferometry and Synthesis in Radio Astronomy” with A.R. Thompson and G.W. Swenson, which is widely considered the standard reference in the field. His research has focused on observations of star formation regions, the physical properties of cosmic masers, accretion disks around supermassive black holes and our Galactic Center.
Professor Moran served as chair of the Astronomy Department at Harvard University from 2004-2010. He has served on various observatory boards, including that of the Murchison Widefield Array and is the chair of the board of the Northeast Radio Observatory Corporation, which operates Haystack Observatory. He was chair of the Site Selection Advisory Committee of the SKA in 2011. Professor Moran received the Reber Gold Medal in 2013 for his lifetime contribution to radio astronomy. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.