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Mildred "Barry" Friedman Lectureship

April 2012 Mildred "Barry" Friedman Lecture

Pig Islet Xenotransplantation and the End of Diabetes

David K. C. Cooper, MA, PhD, MD, MS, DSc(Med), FRCS, FACS

Professor of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
Director, Xenotransplantation (cross-species) Research Group, Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute
Chairman, Scientific Advisory Board, Revivicor, Inc.

Department of Medicine Grand Rounds
April 12th, 2012, 8:00 – 9:00 AM
Lecture Hall 1, Basic Science Building

About David K. C. Cooper, MA, PhD, MD, MS, DSc(Med), FRCS, FACS

photo of David Cooper

Since early 2004, David Cooper has been director of the xenotransplantation (cross-species) research group at the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, where he is a Professor of Surgery. He is also Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board of Revivicor, Inc., a biotechnology company that directs its efforts largely to the development of genetically-engineered pigs for purposes of xenotransplantation.

Between 1996 and 2004, he held the position of Immunologist (Surgery) at the Transplantation Biology Research Center at the Massachusetts General Hospital, was also Associate Professor of Surgery (Immunology) at Harvard Medical School, and a consultant to Immerge BioTherapeutics, Inc. Since 1996, he has been a full-time investigator in the field of xenotransplantation.

Dr. Cooper was born and raised in London, England, and completed his medical education at Guy's Hospital Medical School in the University of London, qualifying Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MB, BS) in 1963. After junior clinical appointments at Guy's Hospital and a year spent teaching anatomy at Harvard Medical School in Boston, he completed his general and cardiothoracic surgical training in Cambridge and London, interspersed with 3 years of full-time research at the National Heart Hospital and Institute of Cardiology in London. He became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 1971, and received the PhD degree of the University of London in 1974.

As a student, he captained the Guy's Hospital Boat Club, and as a postgraduate, he rowed in the University of London 2nd VIII (when the 1st VIII was the British Olympic crew), and represented Wales in the Home Countries International Regatta, winning the coxed IV event.

During his clinical and research training in England, he taught anatomy to medical students at Magdalene College, Cambridge (1966-1979), and was elected a Fellow of the College and awarded the Master of Arts degree of the University of Cambridge in 1972. He remained as Director of Studies in Medical Sciences at Magdalene College until 1980. At various times, he spent short periods as a ship surgeon, during which he visited Mediterranean and South African ports, as a surgeon in a rural mission hospital in the Punjab in northern India, and as a flying doctor to isolated Native American communities in central Canada.

In 1980, Dr. Cooper was appointed Specialist in Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of Cape Town Medical School in South Africa, being promoted to Senior Specialist and Associate Professor in 1985. Throughout this period at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, he had responsibility for the heart transplant program under Professor Christiaan Barnard and also directed a program of research into aspects of organ transplantation and xenotransplantation. His group was the first to store and transport hearts using a hypothermic perfusion system, and also the first to identify the hormonal changes that develop after brain death, and to recommend hormonal replacement therapy to the potential organ donor. He was awarded the higher degree of Doctor of Medicine of the University of London in 1986 for a dissertation on clinical heart transplantation.

Since early 2004, David Cooper has been director of the xenotransplantation (cross-species) research group at the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, where he is a Professor of Surgery. He is also Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board of Revivicor, Inc., a biotechnology company that directs its efforts largely to the development of genetically-engineered pigs for purposes of xenotransplantation.

Between 1996 and 2004, he held the position of Immunologist (Surgery) at the Transplantation Biology Research Center at the Massachusetts General Hospital, was also Associate Professor of Surgery (Immunology) at Harvard Medical School, and a consultant to Immerge BioTherapeutics, Inc. Since 1996, he has been a full-time investigator in the field of xenotransplantation.

Dr. Cooper was born and raised in London, England, and completed his medical education at Guy's Hospital Medical School in the University of London, qualifying Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MB, BS) in 1963. After junior clinical appointments at Guy's Hospital and a year spent teaching anatomy at Harvard Medical School in Boston, he completed his general and cardiothoracic surgical training in Cambridge and London, interspersed with 3 years of full-time research at the National Heart Hospital and Institute of Cardiology in London. He became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 1971, and received the PhD degree of the University of London in 1974.

As a student, he captained the Guy's Hospital Boat Club, and as a postgraduate, he rowed in the University of London 2nd VIII (when the 1st VIII was the British Olympic crew), and represented Wales in the Home Countries International Regatta, winning the coxed IV event.

During his clinical and research training in England, he taught anatomy to medical students at Magdalene College, Cambridge (1966-1979), and was elected a Fellow of the College and awarded the Master of Arts degree of the University of Cambridge in 1972. He remained as Director of Studies in Medical Sciences at Magdalene College until 1980. At various times, he spent short periods as a ship surgeon, during which he visited Mediterranean and South African ports, as a surgeon in a rural mission hospital in the Punjab in northern India, and as a flying doctor to isolated Native American communities in central Canada.

In 1980, Dr. Cooper was appointed Specialist in Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of Cape Town Medical School in South Africa, being promoted to Senior Specialist and Associate Professor in 1985. Throughout this period at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, he had responsibility for the heart transplant program under Professor Christiaan Barnard and also directed a program of research into aspects of organ transplantation and xenotransplantation. His group was the first to store and transport hearts using a hypothermic perfusion system, and also the first to identify the hormonal changes that develop after brain death, and to recommend hormonal replacement therapy to the potential organ donor. He was awarded the higher degree of Doctor of Medicine of the University of London in 1986 for a dissertation on clinical heart transplantation.