In Memory of Joseph R. Bertino

Dear RBHS Community Members, 

It is with great sadness that I write to inform you of the passing of Dr. Joseph R. Bertino, a renowned scientist, inspirational mentor, cherished colleague, University Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and chief scientific officer at The Cancer Institute of New Jersey (CINJ). 

Dr. Bertino’s passion for improving cancer therapies and furthering cancer research was fostered early in his career by the loss of a family member to leukemia and his experiences with patients while fulfilling his medical training. In the 60+ years since, Dr. Bertino devoted his career to improving treatments for cancer and hematologic disorders – leaving an indelible mark on modern cancer research. 

After joining CINJ in 2002, Dr. Bertino collaborated with top experts to help develop the latest generation of cancer treatments. He had a particular interest in understanding why certain drugs, such as methotrexate, were effective (or ineffective) and in the development of new treatments. A dedicated physician, Dr. Bertino was adept at translating the latest findings into patient therapies and educating his patients about the treatment options available to them. 

Dr. Bertino earned his medical degree from the State University of New York Downstate College of Medicine and completed a United States Public Health Service fellowship in hematology/oncology at the University of Washington School of Medicine. Prior to joining CINJ, he served as director of the Yale Cancer Center, was an American Cancer Society Research Professor, and chaired the Molecular Pharmacology and Therapeutics Program at Memorial Sloan-Kettering. He was a past president of both the American Society for Clinical Oncology and the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). He co-authored more than 400 scientific publications and was a founding medical editor of the journal Hem/Onc Today and the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Dr. Bertino was elected fellow of the AACR Academy in 2013 and served as a board member for both AACR and the Lymphoma Research Foundation. His leadership and contributions to the field garnered many honors including an AACR Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018. 

You can learn more about Dr. Bertino’s distinguished life and career by viewing tributes shared by CINJ and the Lymphoma Research Foundation.  

Our thoughts are with Dr. Bertino’s family and colleagues as we remember and reflect on his incredible legacy and contributions to cancer research and treatment. 


Brian L. Strom, MD, MPH
Chancellor, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences
Executive Vice President for Health Affairs, Rutgers University