David K.C. Cooper studied medicine at Guy’s Hospital Medical School in London (now merged with King’s College London). He subsequently trained in general and cardiothoracic surgery in Cambridge and London. He was present at the first heart transplant in the UK in 1968. In 1980, he took up an appointment in cardiac surgery at Groote Schuur Hospital at the University of Cape Town, under Professor Christiaan Barnard (who, in 1967 had carried out the world’s first heart transplant). In 1987, he relocated to the Oklahoma Transplantation Institute in the USA where he continued to work in both the clinical and research fields.
With colleagues, he identified the importance of the Gal antigen in xenotransplantation. After 17 years as a surgeon-scientist, he decided to concentrate on research, initially at the Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School in Boston, subsequently at the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute at the University of Pittsburgh, and now at UAB. His major interest is the xenotransplantation of organs, islets, and corneas in pig-to-nonhuman primate models, with the aim of using genetically-engineered pigs as a solution to the organ shortage for clinical transplantation. The Royal College of Surgeons of England appointed him to a Hunterian Professorship (1983), Arris and Gale Lectureship (1988), Amott Lectureship (2002), and awarded him the 1997 Jacksonian Prize and Medal. Professor Cooper has published more than 850 medical and scientific papers and chapters, has authored or edited 11 books, and has given more than 300 invited presentations worldwide. Between 1994-7, he was Honorary Secretary/Treasurer of the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation.
He was the Founding Honorary Secretary of the International Xenotransplantation Association, IXA) in 1997, its President in 1999-2001, and the Editor-in-Chief of the official Journal of the IXA, Xenotransplantation, from 2001-7. In 2009, he was elected to Honorary Membership of the IXA. He has also received the American Society of Transplant Surgeons (ASTS)-Roche Presidential Travel Award (2007), The Transplantation Society-Roche Award for Excellence in Translational Science (2010), the American Society of Transplantation (AST) Basic Science Established Investigator Award (2014), and The Transplantation Society’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Transplantation (Basic Science) (2016).
He has trained numerous international fellows in cardiac surgery, transplantation, and xenotransplantation. He is very active in the field of xenotransplantation research and currently serves as the Co-Director of Xenotransplantation Program at University of Alabama at Birmingham. His research has been continuously supported by the NIH over 30 years.
To be eligible for the David K.C. Cooper Young Investigator Award:
Process for bestowing the award:
International Xenotransplantation Association
C/O The Transplantation Society
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