George Cooper IV, MD, 69, died peacefully at his home in Charleston on Saturday, April 28, 2012, after a nine-year struggle with cancer.
Dr. Cooper, director of the Gazes Cardiac Research Institute at the Medical University of South Carolina and chief of cardiology at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Charleston, was an internationally recognized expert in heart physiology and leader in research into the causes of heart failure. He received his medical degree from Cornell University Medical School and his Internal Medicine training at Case Western Reserve University. He then pursued laboratory research training at the Mayo Clinic, received a cardiology fellowship at Duke University, and conducted research at the Naval Medical Research Institute in Bethesda. He went on to pursue an academic career at the University of Iowa and subsequently Temple University, where he was the director of basic cardiovascular research. In 1985 Dr. Cooper moved to the Medical University of South Carolina as professor of internal medicine and physiology and chief of cardiology at the VA Medical Center. In 1994 Dr. Cooper was appointed director of the Gazes Institute. Dr. Cooper authored more than 80 original scientific articles and 10 book chapters in the field of cardiac mechanics, including a seminal paper in Science describing the role of microtubules in cardiac hypertrophy. He served on the editorial boards of major cardiology journals and specialized boards of the NIH and the VA. He was a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians, and received the highly prestigious Louis N. Katz Basic Science Research Prize of the American Heart Association. In 2004 the American Physiological Society's Cardiovascular Section granted him its Carl Wiggers Award in recognition of his career-long research achievements. He was also a member of the Society for the Relief of Families of Deceased and Disabled Indigent Members of the Medical Profession of the State of South Carolina. Dr. Cooper is survived by his wife of 30 years, Elizabeth Roemig Cooper, and four sons: George (Caroline) of Alexandria, VA; F. Cullen of Greensboro, NC; William Wise (Amanda) of Winston Salem, NC, and James Andrew of Charleston, SC as well as four grandchildren and two sisters: Juliet Dankmeyer (Rognald) of San Mateo, CA, and Mary Howard Ellis (John) of Kilmarnock, VA.