David Elder is Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. He trained in New Zealand at the University of Otago with John Blennerhassett MD, and with Vincent McGovern, MD of the Sydney Melanoma Unit in Australia. He then moved to Philadelphia, with Wallace H Clark Jr., MD, initially at Temple University and then at the University of Pennsylvania where Ted Enterline, MD was Director of Anatomic Pathology and also a strong influence.
Dr Elder was Vice Chair and Director for Anatomic Pathology in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine from 1999 through 2011, and currently leads its Dermatopathology Program within the Section of Surgical Pathology. In 2004 he was made a Distinguished Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia and in 2011 he was honored with a Life Membership of the British Society for Dermatopathology. He is a founding member of the Penn Melanoma and Pigmented Lesion Study Group (founded by Wallace Clark) since 1978, leading its pathology component for many of these years.
Dr. Elder has also been a leading member of the Melanoma Genetics Consortium (Genomel), serving as Principal Investigator of an NIH grant supporting this program for 10 years. This group has defined the biology of genes that convey risk for the development of melanoma in Europe, Australia and the Americas. He has also been a longtime and continuing consultant to the MPATH-Dx group led by Joann Elmore, which has studied reproducibility and accuracy in melanoma diagnosis and has proposed a simplified diagnostic schema for these lesions, which is oriented toward supporting management decisions.
Dr. Elder has published over 300 peer-reviewed scientific articles and reviews, mostly in the field of melanoma and related conditions. In addition, he has authored or edited several textbooks, including the 3rd and 4th series US Armed Forces Institute of Pathology Fascicles on Melanocytic Tumors of the Skin, and the latest four editions of “Lever’s Histopathology of the Skin”. Other publications include the Atlas and Synopsis of Lever’s Histopathology of the Skin which is in its 4th Edition and presents a unified pattern classification system for inflammatory and neoplastic skin diseases. He also has served as the Lead Editor for the latest revision of the 2018 4th Edition WHO “Blue Book” on Classification of Skin Tumours. Dr Elder continues to pursue his interests in the classification and diagnosis of skin disease and in particular the diagnosis and prognosis of melanoma and other melanocytic tumors, and regularly participates in the clinical activities of his specialty at Penn.