American Association for Clinical Chemistry
Better health through laboratory medicine
Gerald R. Cooper, MD, PhD

Dr. Cooper (1914-2009) enjoyed a remarkably long and productive career.With a PhD and MD from Duke University, Dr. Cooper spent most of his career with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Hedeserves special mention as the only individual to have published in Vol 1of Clinical Chemistry in 1955 as well as in Vol 50 publishedin 2004. Dr. Cooper served as AACC president in 1984 and continued as an active member of the association, serving on many committees including that responsible for planning the 2006 Arnold O. Beckman Conference.His many honors and accomplishments are detailed below.

2008 The Distinguished Scientist Award

Gerald R. Cooper, MD, PhD, DABCC, FACB was honored with AACC's 2008 Distinguished Scientist Award.

1992 Outstanding Contributions to Clinical Chemistry

Gerald R. Cooper has won this year’s AACC Award for Outstanding Contributions to Clinical Chemistry. The 41st annual award is sponsored by Miles, Inc., Diagnostics Division, manufacturer of Ames and Technicon products.

Dr. Cooper, who was born in Scranton, SC, earned his undergraduate, M.A., and Ph.D. degrees in chemistry and an M.D. degree at Duke University. He served on the staffs of the departments of biochemistry, experimental surgery, and medicine at the Duke University School of Medicine before moving to Atlanta to begin a long and distinguished career at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

For 20 years he served as Chief of Clinical Chemistry of the Hematology and Pathology Branch in the CDC’s Laboratory Division.In 1978, when he retired from the Public Health Service (PHS) Commissioned Corps, Dr. Cooper assumed his job as Research Medical Officer in the CDC’s Division of Environmental Laboratory Sciences in the Center for Environmental Health and Injury Control. Since 1961 Dr. Cooper has served as Medical Director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Reference and Research in Blood Lipids, a post established at the CDC.

Dr. Cooper is renowned for his ongoing research on lipids, lipoproteins, and apolipoproteins in coronary heart disease.As the CDC principal liaison on laboratory standardization of the clinical trials of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), he has made memorable contributions. He is also a member of the Directors Committee of the Lipid Research Clinics. As an AACC member, he was chairman of the Cholesterol Reference Method Study Group.

Dr. Cooper has served as a member and chairman of the Council of Clinical Chemistry of the American Society of Clinical Pathologists. He was cochairman of the Lipid-Apolipoprotein Subcommittee of the International Union of Immunological Societies and was a member of both the Apolipoprotein Committee of the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and the Laboratory Standardization Panel of the NHLBI National Cholesterol Education Program. Dr. Cooper is now Chairman of the Working Group on Reference Methods for Apolipoproteins of the International Federation for Clinical Chemistry (IFCC).

Dr. Cooper’s leadership and contributions to the AACC go further than his presidency of the association in 1984. He has also served as Chairman of the Board of Editors of Selected Methods of Clinical Chemistry, as a member of the Publications Board, and of the Board of Editors of this journal. He has served as a member of the AACC Board of Directors.

For several decades Dr. Cooper has been formally recognized by the AACC and other groups for his outstanding research and service to the field. In 1954 he received the Hektoen Award, and in 1956, the Billings Award from the American Medical Association. The PHS honored him in 1964 with the Commendation Medal, in 1965 with the PHS Superior Service Group Award for Lipid Standardization, and in 1978 with the Distinguished Service Medal. In 1984 he won the Assistant Secretary for Health Award for Exceptional Achievement.

In 1975 the AACC awarded Dr. Cooper the Fisher Award in Clinical Chemistry and the Award Lectureship (United States) for the International Symposium on Quality Control in Geneva. In 1979 the AACC New Jersey Section gave him the Gerulat Award for contributions to clinical chemistry.

In 1989 Dr. Cooper won the William C. Watson Medal of Excellence for his outstanding research and services in heart diseases and was named Atlanta Area Federal Employee of the year in the scientific/professional category for his outstanding laboratory contributions in the fight against heart disease.

Dr. Cooper is survived by his wife, Lois Painter Cooper, their daughter, two sons, and two grandsons.

1984 AACC Past President’s Award

Gerald Cooper, PhD served as AACC president in 1984.

1975 Outstanding Contributions to Clinical Chemistry

Gerald R. Cooper will receive the 1975 (tenth) AACC Award for Outstanding Contributions through Service to Clinical Chemistry as a Profession, sponsored by Fisher Scientific Co.

Dr. Cooper, originally from Durham, North Carolina, received the A.B., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees in chemistry and the M.D. from Duke University. Before joining the staff of the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1952, Dr. Cooper served on the staff of the Biochemistry, Experimental Surgery, and Medicine Departments of the Duke University School of Medicine.

Dr. Cooper served for 20 years as Chief, Clinical Chemistry, Hematology and Pathology Branch, Laboratory Division, Center for Disease Control. The Clinical Chemistry, Hematology and Pathology Branch performs services, research, and consultation in the fields of biochemistry, hematology, immunology, and pathology. Research projects in these fields being carried on involve (1) standardization of laboratory procedures, (2) development and evaluation of diagnostic tests needed in medical laboratories, (3) development and testing of instrumentation, and (4) radioisotope and electron microscope diagnostic applications.

In July 1972, Dr. Cooper became Chief of the Lipids Section at the Center for Disease Control. The Lipids Section evaluates lipid methods, maintains characterized and accurately labeled standards and serum lipid reference materials, and offers lipid standardization programs. It serves as a national cholesterol and triglyceride standardization laboratory and has been designated the WHO International Reference Center for Lipid Determination in Cardiovascular Research by the World Health Organization. In 1973, Dr. Cooper was appointed Chief, Metabolic Biochemistry Branch, at CDC, which includes the Lipids Section and the Immunochemistry Section.

Dr. Cooper has published more than 70 papers in medical chemistry. His personal interest has centered about electrophoresis, host resistance, heart diseases, diabetes, quality control, and standardization of laboratory procedures. He has served as President of the CDC Branch of the Research Society of America and Chairman of the Southeast Section of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine. Dr. Cooper is a member of the Council on Clinical Chemistry, American Society of Clinical Pathologists. He served as Editor-in-Chief of volume 7 of Standard Methods of Clinical Chemistry. He is currently Editor-in-Chief of Selected Methods of Clinical Chemistry, a member of the Editorial Board of Clinical Chemistry, and a member of the Board of Directors of the American Association of Clinical Chemists.

Dr. Cooper has made outstanding contributions in the area of continuing education in the field of clinical chemistry. He organized and presented very effective workshops on methods for determination of glucose for the Council on Clinical Chemistry of the American Society of Clinical Pathologists. This was first published in 1966 and later revised. In 1972, he conducted the highly successful AACC Workshop on Hyperlipoproteinemia. This was the first time AACC workshops were presented at a national meeting. Each year, he serves on the faculty of clinical chemistry workshops sponsored by the continuing-education programs of universities and state health department laboratories.

He organized and directed a workshop on selection, evaluation, implementation, and maintenance of methods in clinical chemistry. This five-day workshop, sponsored by the Council on Clinical Chemistry of the American Society of Clinical Pathologists, has been presented annually since 1972.

Dr. Cooper, with associates at the Center for Disease Control, received from the American Medical Association the Hektoen Award in 1954 for original work in electrophoresis and the Billings Award in 1956 for an exhibit on diagnostic laboratory techniques in communicable diseases. On December 8, 1964, Dr. Cooper was awarded the Commendation Medal by the Surgeon General of the United States Public Health Service in recognition of his dedication to public service and his outstanding contributions to the mission of the Heart Disease and Stroke Control Program, which has received worldwide recognition.

In 1974, he was nominated by the AACC to be the Award Lecturer at the Sixth International Symposium on Quality Control at Geneva.