Dr. Cooper, Surgery

Dr. David Y. Cooper, professor emeritus of surgical research, passed away August 2, 2013, of cancer; he was 88.

Born in Henderson, North Carolina, Dr. Cooper studied chemistry at University of North Carolina and earned a BS degree in medicine in 1946. While a student at North Carolina, he entered the United States Naval Reserve (USNR) and served two years of active duty, 1943 to 1945. In 1946 he entered the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, where he earned a doctor of medicine degree two years later. Following graduation, he interned at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) for a year.

He returned to active duty with the USNR in 1949, continuing in the service until the end of 1952. He rose to the rank of lieutenant and received an honorable discharge in 1958.

From 1953 to 1957, he was a resident in surgery at HUP. During those years he performed dual duties as a resident and a fellow of the department of surgical research. He earned board certification in surgery in 1959 and was appointed to Penn's faculty in the Harrison Department of Surgical Research. He spent his entire career at Penn before retiring and being named professor emeritus in 2004. Dr. Cooper's most notable contributions in the medical field include the discovery of the role of cytochrome P-450, which is a series of enzymes found in the body, and the introduction of mouth-to-mouth artificial respiration.

He wrote dozens of scholarly articles and also co-authored with Marshall A. Ledger, Innovation and Tradition at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine: An Anecdotal Journey (1990), which was published in conjunction with the 225th anniversary of Penn's School of Medicine. Dr. Cooper belonged to several professional organizations such as the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Society of Chemists, the New York Academy of Science and the College of Physicians. He served on several local and national committees, such as the National Institute of Health.

Dr. Cooper is survived by his wife, the former Cynthia Laughlin; daughters, Allison Cooper Hamilton and Lucy Cooper Karlsson; and four grandchildren.