Alpers Lecture


Dr. Alpers was born in Philadelphia to two academic physicians and raised in an environment that fostered his later achievements. He entered Harvard College in 1952 and majored in the classics, but always had academic medicine in his sights. Matriculation from Harvard Medical School led to internal medicine residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital followed by a research fellowship at the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Alpers returned to the MGH to join Kurt Isselbacher’s group in 1964 – the beginning of a fruitful clinical and investigative career in gastroenterology.

In 1969 Dr. Alpers came to Washington University to spearhead the development of an academic gastroenterology division at this institution. His dedication to both the clinical and investigative sides of the field was conspicuous and contagious. Over the remarkable period of tenure as chief of the division (1969-1997), he nurtured students and young investigators, encouraging their interest and pleasure in studying gastrointestinal function and disease. The initially meager division progressively developed into one of the premier gastroenterology programs in the nation. His leadership skills were recognized beyond the university boundaries. He led the development of important educational projects at the national level and was named president of the American Gastroenterological Association in 1990.

Dr. Alpers is widely recognized for his research in intestinal protein biochemistry. His efforts are also responsible for much of our knowledge of cobalamin metabolism and absorption by the gastrointestinal tract. His contributions to understanding gut physiology have been so important, his knowledge of the field so great that he was selected as editor of the American Journal of Physiology (Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology). Dr. Alpers is also recognized for his clinical discoveries. His longstanding interests in the psychiatric aspects of gastrointestinal disease helped formulate some of the current thinking about brain-gut interactions.

The American Gastroenterological Association awarded the Julius M. Friedenwald Medal to Dr. Alpers in 1997. This recognition of a lifetime of outstanding achievements, that have advanced gastrointestinal research and practice, is the highest honor bestowed by the organization.

24th Annual David H. Alpers Visiting Professorship (2022)


2021 Anna Mae Diehl, MD
Duke University
“Fixing Fatty Livers”
2020 Due to COVID-19, we did not host a Lecture in 2020.
2019 Gail Hecht, MD,
Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine
“Enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC) in developed countries: What does it mean?”
2018 Gregory J. Gores, MD
Kinney Executive Dean for Research
Reuben R. Eisenberg Professor of Medicine and Physiology
Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Mayo Clinic
“Cholangiocarcinoma: From Mice to Men”
2017 Martin J. Blaser, MD
Muriel G. and George W. Singer Professor of Translational Medicine
Professor of Microbiology
Director, Human Microbiome Program
New York University Langone Medical Center
“How the well-choreographed development of
host-microbial interactions is going wrong”
2016 Guadalupe Garcia-Tsao, M.D.
Professor of Medicine (Digestive Disease)
Chief, Digestive Diseases, VA-CT Healthcare System
Director, Clinical and Translational Core, Yale Liver Center
Program Director, VA-CT Hepatitis C Resource Center
Yale School of Medicine
“Management of Portal Hypertension: What is New?”
2015 Jeffrey I. Gordon, MD
Dr. Robert J. Glaser Distinguished University Professor
Director, Center for Genome Sciences & Systems Biology
Washington University School of Medicine
“Childhood undernutrition and gut microbiota immaturity: human development viewed from a microbial perspective”
2014 James L. Boyer, MD
Ensign Professor of Medicine
Emeritus Director, Liver Center
Yale University School of Medicine

“Autoimmune Hepatitis, Stress and MIF, a Klatskin/Kaplan Legacy”


2014 (Rescheduled from 2013) Don W. Powell, MD
Director, Institute for Translational Science Clinical Research Center
Member, Graduate Faculty, Cellular Physics and Molecular Biophysics
Professor, Neuroscience and Cell Biology
The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
“Diseases of Modern Explorers: Ground-based Studies of Astronauts’ Maladies”
2012 Neil Kaplowitz, MD
Chief, Division of Gastroenterology, Professor of Medicine
University of Southern California
“Drug-Induced Liver Injury: Mitochondria Meets JNK”
2011 Martin F. Kagnoff, MD
Professor Emeritus of Medicine and Pediatrics, Director of Laboratory of Mucosal Immunology
Director of the William K. Warren Medical Research Center for Celiac Disease
University of California, San Diego
“Celiac Disease: From Pathogenesis to the Clinic and Beyond”
2010 Willis C. Maddrey, MD
Professor of Internal Medicine, Adelyn and Edmund M. Hoffman Distinguished Chair in Medical Science
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
“Drug-Induced Liver Disease: 2010”
2009 Daniel K. Podolsky, MD
President, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
“IBD: Current Concepts and Future Therapy”
2008 Irwin M. Arias, MD
Head, Unit for Cell Polarity, Cell Biology and Metabolism Program
National Institute of Child Health & Human Development, National Institutes of Health
“Imaging Liverland: The Molecular Basis of Inherited and Acquired Cholestasis”
2007 Tadataka Yamada, MD
President, Global Health Program, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
“Perspectives on Global Health”
2006 J. Thomas Lamont, MD
Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
“Pathophysiology, diagnosis and treatment of Clostridium difficile infection”
2005 Jay H. Hoofnagle, MD
Director, Liver Disease Research Branch, Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health
“Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis”
2004 W. Allan Walker, MD
Conrad Taff Professor of Nutrition; Director, Division of Nutrition, Harvard Medical School
Professor, Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health
“Bacterial Colonization and Clinical Disease”
2003 Harvey J. Alter, MD
Chief, Infectious Disease Section, Associate Director for Research
Department of Transfusion Medicine, National Institutes of Health
“The Natural and Unnatural History of HCV Infection”
2002 John M. Dietschy, MD
The H. Ben and Isabelle T. Decherd Chair in Internal Medicine
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
“Cholesterol Metabolism: Can Coronary Artery Disease Be Prevented”
2001 Bernard Levin, MD
Professor of Medicine, Vice President for Cancer Prevention, Division Head of Cancer Prevention
Department of Gastrointestinal Oncology, Division of Cancer Medicine
University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
“Colorectal Cancer: Strategies for Prevention”
2000 Nicholas F. LaRusso, MD
Professor of Medicine, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Chairman, Department of Internal Medicine, Mayo Medical School
“Recent Advances in the Biology of Biliary Epithelial Cells”
1999 Robert M. Glickman, MD
Saul J. Farber Professor of Medicine and Dean
New York University School of Medicine
“Atherosclerosis Update: A tale of mice and men”