John A. Cooper, MD, PhD
John A. Cooper, MD, PhD, professor of cell biology and physiology, is being recognized for his exceptional work in graduate student teaching.
His principal teaching contribution is as course master of the Fundamentals of Molecular Cell Biology course taken by scores of PhD and MD/PhD students each year. Under his leadership, the course has gained immense popularity and is now considered among the best courses in the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences.
Students enjoy his dedication, infectious enthusiasm, and dynamic, clear, well-crafted presentations, and they appreciate that he takes a personal interest in the progress of each and every student. They report that the well-organized, rigorous course provides them with critical tools for conducting their own research: namely, a thorough knowledge of fundamental cell biology concepts, as well as an understanding of how to critically analyze research, propose novel hypotheses, and design focused experiments. In addition, Cooper incorporates student input to continually improve the course experience, including how to conduct testing and which lecturers to include the following year.
He is known as a gracious and generous mentor more interested in shining attention on his trainees than himself. Cooper attracts exceptional students and develops them into outstanding independent scientists who go on to publish seminal works, acquire postdoctoral positions in the best laboratories and gain faculty positions at the top institutions.
Cooper earned his bachelor’s degree from Brown University in Providence, R.I., in 1977 and his medical and doctoral degrees from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore in 1982 and 1983, respectively. He then completed two postdoctoral fellowships in cell biology, at Johns Hopkins and Washington University in St. Louis. He joined the Washington University faculty in 1988. He has been honored as a Lucille P. Markey Scholar in Biomedical Science and as an Established Investigator of the American Heart Association.