Browse Entries

Use Trove to find more resources by/about this Biographical entry

  • Trove

Biographical entry Willis, Rupert Allan (1898 - 1980)

24 December 1898
Yarram, Victoria, Australia
26 March 1980
Birkenhead, United Kingdom


Rupert Willis was a pathologist internationally renowned for his investigation of the morphology and behaviour of tumours. His work helped formulate the modern approach to tumour classification and histogenesis. For nearly 20 years he held senior positions at the Austin and Alfred Hospitals in Melbourne, where he established stringent standards for dissections in necropsies. His research also encompassed disorders of growth, experimental carcinogenesis, transplantation of tissues in rodents, and the comparative pathology of neoplastic and non-neoplastic diseases. In 1945 Willis moved to the United Kingdom to become Collins Professor of Pathology at the Royal College of Surgeons. As consultant to the Imperial Cancer Research Fund he set up Tumour Reference Collection. He published several influential texts including The spread of tumours in the human body (1934, 3rd ed. 1973), considered to be one of the "modern classics" of medical writing, and Borderland between embryology and pathology (1958, 2nd ed. 1963).



Education - MB BS, University of Melbourne
1922 - 1924
Career position - Resident Medical Officer, Alfred Hospital, Melbourne
1924 - 1927
Career position - In general practice, Lilydale, Tasmania
1927 - 1930
Career position - Medical Superintendent, Austin Hospital for Chronic and Incurable Diseases
Education - MD, University of Melbourne
1930 - 1933
Career position - Pathologist, Alfred Hospital, Melbourne
Education - DSc, University of Melbourne
1933 - 1935
Career position - Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship, Buckston Brown Research Farm, Kent, United Kingdom
Education - Member, Royal College of Physicians, United Kingdom
Award - David Syme Research Prize, University of Melbourne
1935 - 1945
Career position - Pathologist, Alfred Hospital, Melbourne
Career position - Fellow, Royal College of Physicians, United Kingdom
1945 - 1948
Career position - Collins Professor of Pathology, Royal College of Surgeons, London
1948 - 1950
Career position - Pathologist, Royal Cancer Hospital, Fulham, United Kingdom
1950 - 1955
Career position - Professor of Pathology, University of Leeds, United Kingdom
1959 -
Career position - Honorary Consultant Pathologist, Imperial Cancer Research Fund
1961 - 1980
Award - Fellow, Royal Australasian College of Physicians
1961 - 1980
Award - Elected Fellow, Royal College of Surgeons, London
Award - Honorary LLD, University of Glasgow
1963 - 1964
Career position - MacFarlane Chair of Experimental Medicine, Glasgow Royal Infirmary, United Kingdom
Award - Honorary Fellow, Royal College of Pathologists, United Kingdom

Related Corporate Bodies

Published resources

Book Sections

Journal Articles

  • Anon, 'Rupert Alan Willis DSc., M.D. (Melb..), F.R.C.P., F.R.C.S., F.R.A.C.P., F.R.C.Path., Hon. LLD (Glasgow)', Pathology (Sydney), 12 (1980), 649-50. Details
  • Attwood, H. D., 'Rupert Willis', American Journal of Surgical Pathology, 4 (5) (1980), 511-6. Details
  • B., C. C. and C., A. R., 'Rupert Allan Willis', The Lancet, 315 (8174) (1980), 940. Details
  • Bird, C. C. and Currie, A. R., 'Obituary: Rupert Allan Willis, D.Sc., M.D., F.R.C.P., F.R.A.C.P., F.R.C.S., F.R.C. Path,1898 - 1980', Journal of Pathology, 136 (4) (1982), 345-7. Details
  • Gault, E. W., 'Cameron, Burnet and Willis - three Australian pathologists', Indian Journal of Pathology and Bacteriology, 14 (1971), 53-67. Details
  • Osborn, G. S. and Gault, E. W., 'Rupert Alan Willis', Medical Journal of Australia, 1980 (2) (1980), 166. Details


Helen Cohn