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Alan Rabson Dies

Alan Rabson, a former deputy director of the National Cancer Institute, has died, according to the New York Times. He was 92.

Rabson, a trained pathologist, studied cancer and the role of viruses in causing cancer, the Times adds. It notes that he figured out how herpes viruses, which cause chickenpox and cold sores, can linger in nerve cells and later re-emerge as shingles or recurrent sores.

Rabson also served as a senior leader at NCI, according to the agency. He was director of what is now NCI's Division of Cancer Biology and was deputy director of NCI from 1995 until 2015, when he retired, it adds.

He was also generous with his time and would take any patient's calls and answer questions, National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins tells the New York Times. "People would call me and say: 'Hey, I know you are a doctor at the National Institutes of Health. Do you know somebody who could help me?' " Collins says. "I would say, 'I know exactly the right person.' "

Ruth Kirschstein, Rabson's wife, who directed the National Institute of General Medical Sciences and later served as deputy NIH director, died in 2009.