Alpers was educated at Adelaide U. and Cambridge U., UK (Makin scholar). He is John Curtin distinguished professor of international health at Curtin U. in Perth, Australia. He was previously: research officer, Kuru Research, Okapa, Territory of New Guinea 1961-63; visiting scientist at NIH, Bethesda, Maryland 1964-67; research fellow, dept. of microbiology, Univ. of Western Australia, Perth 1968-76; and dir. of the Papua New Guinea Inst. of Medical Research 1977-2000. His awards include: Medal, Collѐge de France; Macdonald Medal, Royal Society Trop. Med. Hyg., London; Queensland Inst. Med. Res. Fellow; PNG Inst. Med. Res. Fellow; Hon. Internatl. Fellow, Am. Soc. Trop. Med. Hyg.; Inaugural Life Member, Med. Soc. Papua New Guinea; Fellow, Royal Society of London and Australian Acad. of Science; Companion of the Order of the Star of Melanesia (PNG); and Officer of the Order of Australia.