WiRED International Mourns the Loss of Dr. David Alberts
International Leader in Cancer Research and WiRED Board Member
By Allison Kozicharow; Edited by Elizabeth Fine
WiRED International’s Board of Directors and volunteers are deeply saddened to note the death of David Samuel Alberts, M.D., aged 83 on July 29, 2023. Dr. Alberts joined WiRED’s Advisory Board on December 3, 2013, and personally reviewed or arranged reviewers for WiRED’s Cancer Series health modules.
WiRED Executive Director Gary Selnow, Ph.D., said, “All of us at WiRED are grateful to Dr. Alberts for his significant input to our cancer training programs. Dr. Alberts was a towering figure in cancer research, whose career in medicine and education has over the years inspired many young physicians and researchers. We were privileged to have had his guidance, and we are inspired by his belief in our work.”
WiRED board member Suellen Crano, Ph.D., said, “I am devastated by Dave’s passing — I considered Dave Alberts my cancer god — he was bigger than life, saved mine and that of so many others, while being one of the most prolific researchers and cancer scholars of all time. And while doing all that, he gave his time generously to WiRED in support of our Cancer Series.”
Dr. Alberts was born in 1939 and received his M.D. degree in 1966 from the University of Virginia School of Medicine. He interned at the University of Wisconsin, before becoming a clinical associate in medical oncology at the National Cancer Institute’s Baltimore Cancer Research Center. Dr. Alberts was a resident in internal medicine at the University of Minnesota and then served on the faculty of the University of California, San Francisco. He joined The University of Arizona College of Medicine in 1975.
As a clinician and scientist, Dr. Alberts saw the impact that skin cancer had on Arizona communities. He envisioned having a center at the University of Arizona that would bring together clinicians, laboratory scientists, behavioral researchers and educators to address the increasing incidence of all forms of skin cancer. His vision led to the founding of the University of Arizona Cancer Center in 1976 with its mission of preventing and curing skin cancer. He served as its director from 2005 until his retirement in 2013, continuing to work part time until 2017.
Dr. Alberts has written or co-authored articles in more than 540 peer-reviewed publications and has written 100 book chapters and 60 invited articles. He has edited or co-edited nine books and has served on the editorial boards of multiple scientific journals. In 2001, Dr. Alberts was named by the journal, Science, to be one of the top three National Institutes of Health-funded clinical researchers in the United States. He received the American Society of Preventive Oncology’s Distinguished Career Award in 2004 and the American Association of Cancer Research’s Pioneer in Cancer Award in 2014.
Dr. Alberts is survived by his wife, Heather, and children, Sabrina Alberts Plattner and Timothy Alberts.
Note: Some information taken from The University of Arizona Cancer Center.