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Bruce Alberts

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Title: Bruce Alberts  
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Subject: Eli Lilly Award in Biological Chemistry, National Center for Science Education, National Academy of Sciences, Campaign to Defend the Constitution, Bay Area Science Festival
Collection: 1938 Births, American Biochemists, Biotechnologists, Fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Foreign Fellows of the Indian National Science Academy, Foreign Members of the Royal Society, Foreign Members of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Harvard University Alumni, Living People, Members of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts, Members of the United States National Academy of Sciences, Phage Workers, Princeton University Faculty, University of California, San Francisco Faculty
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Bruce Alberts

Bruce Michael Alberts
Born (1938-04-14) April 14, 1938 [1]
Chicago, Illinois,
United States
Nationality American
Fields Biochemistry
Institutions Harvard University
University of Geneva
Princeton University
National Academy of Sciences
Science (journal)
Alma mater Harvard College (BSc)
Harvard University (PhD)
Thesis Characterization of Naturally Occurring, Cross-Linked Fraction of Deoxyribonucleic Acid (1966)
Doctoral advisor Paul Doty[2][3]
Known for Molecular Biology of the Cell
Notable awards NAS Award in Molecular Biology (1975)
Commander of the Order of the British Empire (2005)
Vannevar Bush Award (2010)

Bruce Michael Alberts[4] (born 1938) is an American biochemist known for his work in science public policy and as an original author of Molecular Biology of the Cell.[5] Alberts, noted particularly for his study of the protein complexes which enable chromosome replication when living cells divide, was Editor-in-Chief of Science[6][7] magazine and United States Science Envoy to Pakistan and Indonesia. Alberts was the president of the National Academy of Sciences from 1993 to 2005[4] and a trustee of the Carnegie Corporation of New York.[2][8][9]


  • Education 1
  • Career 2
  • Political work 3
  • Publications 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


After graduating from New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois, Alberts attended and graduated from Harvard College, with a degree in biochemical sciences, and earned a doctorate from Harvard University in 1965.[3][10]


After graduating, Alberts went to the University of Geneva as a postdoctoral fellow to work with Richard Epstein on genes involved in DNA replication of phage T4. In 1966, Alberts joined the Department of Biochemical Sciences at Princeton University as an Assistant Professor. In 1972, he became an Associate Professor and in 1974 a full Professor. In 1976, he accepted a position as professor and vice-chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1978.[11] In 1980, Alberts was awarded an American Cancer Society Lifetime Research Professorship. In 1985, he was named chair of the Department.

Alberts has long been committed to the improvement of science education, dedicating much of his time to educational projects such as City Science, a program seeking to improve science teaching in San Francisco elementary schools. He has served on the advisory board of the National Science Resources Center a joint project of the National Academy of Sciences and the Smithsonian Institution working with teachers, scientists, and school systems to improve teaching of science as well as on the National Academy of Sciences' National Committee on Science Education Standards and Assessment.

He has served in different capacities on a number of advisory and editorial boards, including as chair of the Commission on Life Sciences, National Research Council. Until his election as President of the National Academy of Sciences in 1995 he was president-elect of the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Alberts was Editor-in-Chief of the American Association for the Advancement of Science's flagship publication, Science for five years from 2008-2013.[12]

From 2000-2009, Alberts was the Co-chair of the InterAcademy Council, an advisory institution in Amsterdam governed by the presidents of fifteen science academies from around the world, and a member of the Science Initiative Group board.[13]

Alberts served as the President of the National Academy of Sciences for two terms from 1993 until 2005.

Political work

In his June 4, 2009 speech at Cairo University, US President Barack Obama announced a new Science Envoy program as part of a "new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world." In January 2010, Bruce Alberts, Ahmed Zewail, and Elias Zerhouni became the first US science envoys to Islam, visiting Muslim-majority countries from North Africa to Southeast Asia.[14]


Alberts has had a productive research career in the field of DNA replication and cell division. His textbook, Molecular Biology of the Cell, now in its sixth edition, is the standard cell biology textbook in most universities; the fourth edition is freely available[15] from National Center for Biotechnology Information Bookshelf. This book and its counterpart for undergraduate students, Essential Cell Biology, have been translated into several languages.[16]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Gitschier, J. (2012). "Scientist Citizen: An Interview with Bruce Alberts". PLoS Genetics 8 (5): e1002743.  
  3. ^ a b Alberts, Bruce (1966). Characterization of a naturally occurring, cross-linked fraction of deoxyribonucleic acid (PhD thesis). Harvard University. 
  4. ^ a b "Presidents of the National Academies". National Academy of Sciences. 2009. 
  5. ^ List of publications from Microsoft Academic Search
  6. ^ Anon (2007). "Scientific publishing: Bruce Alberts Named Science Editor-in-Chief". Science 318 (5858): 1852b–1852b.  
  7. ^ Kirschner, M. (2008). "Profile: Bruce Alberts, Science's New Editor". Science 319 (5867): 1199–1199.  
  8. ^ Carnegie Corporation - About
  9. ^ Beardsley, Tim (February 1994). "Profile: Laid-Back Leader Rattles the Academy".  
  10. ^ For these and other details in this edit see his biography in
  11. ^ "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter A". American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 6 April 2011. 
  12. ^ Alberts, B. (2013). "After 5 Years at Science". Science 340 (6136): 1015–1011.  
  13. ^ SIG Board | SIG
  14. ^
  15. ^ "The book is accessible by the search feature, but cannot be browsed"
  16. ^ Garland Science

External links

  • Bruce Alberts short talk: Learning from Failure
  • Bruce Alberts online talk: DNA Replication
Academic offices
Preceded by
Donald Kennedy
Editor-in-chief of Science
Succeeded by
Marcia McNutt
Preceded by
Mary Beckerle
ASCB Presidents
Succeeded by
Robert D. Goldman
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