On January 21, we lost a giant in the fields of human genetics and genomics. Dr. David Cox died unexpectedly of an apparent heart attack while traveling on business in Florida. David was very helpful when HudsonAlpha Institute was being established, offering strategic advice as we formed a vision for our institute. He served on our Scientific Advisory Board as well, providing key expertise and helping to establish effective ways to hire and support our faculty and staff.
David was one of the world's preeminent human geneticists, with a brilliant mind, tremendous creativity and a unique and insightful way of looking at important problems in human biology and health. David's background combined research training in genetics with clinical training in medical genetics and pediatrics. He worked with young patients with inherited conditions and their families to understand, explain and treat their diseases. He held faculty positions at the University of California at San Francisco and at Stanford University. David left academia in 2000 to start and lead the scientific efforts of Perlegen Sciences, a biotechnology company that pioneered methods for analyzing common human diseases. In 2007, he joined the Renat division of Pfizer, Inc. in the Bay Area to become a senior vice president and chief scientific officer.
David was a remarkable teacher and advisor to many young scientists and physicians, but also greatly influenced the education of his peers and seniors. A major mission in his life was to ensure that medical students, residents and physicians received training in genetics, as he recognized long before many people that genetics and genomics would lead to major changes in the way medicine is practiced.
Our love and hearts go out to David's wife Vicki, their children Sarah and Jacob, and his son Ian, and we are thinking of them during this very difficult time. David was indeed a giant in his field, but also, to me, will always loom large – as a friend, collaborator, teacher and confidante.
—Rick Myers, Ph.D., HudsonAlpha president, director and faculty investigator