David Weatherall, Leading Expert in Thalassemia: 1933-2018

The Cooley’s Anemia Foundation mourns the passing on December 8 of Sir David Weatherall, one of the leading experts in thalassemia. Sir David and his colleague John Clegg together identified an abnormal form of hemoglobin as the basis for thalassemia. This has had profound repercussions in the way in which thalassemia is diagnosed and treated.

In 1974, Sir David was appointed Nuffield Professor of Clinical Medicine at the University of Oxford, and, in 1992, he assumed the most prestigious chair, that of Regius Professor of Medicine, which he held until 2000. In 1989, he founded the Institute of Molecular Medicine at Oxford, which was renamed the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine in his honor in the year 2000 upon his retirement. He then became Chancellor of Keele University.

Sir David was knighted in 1987. His many other honors include the Royal Medal by the Royal Society, the Fothergillian prize by the London Medical Society, and the Lasker Award. The :Lasker is considered by many to be the most significant US prize for medical research.

“Sir David Weatherall’s work contributed enormously to the world’s understanding of thalassemia and laid the groundwork for many important advances in the care of thalassemia,” said Peter Chieco, CAF National President. “The thalassemia community the world over benefited from his work, his expertise, and his dedication.”

The Thalassaemia International Federation also released a response to Sir David’s passing, which can be accessed here. (Link: https://thalassaemia.org.cy/news/press-releases/sir-david-weatherall-an-iconic-scientist-who-carried-out-groundbreaking-work-in-thalassaemia-dies/)

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