TB researcher named new Francis B. Trudeau chair

SARANAC LAKE – The board of trustees of the Trudeau Institute has named senior faculty member Andrea Cooper the inaugural Francis B. Trudeau chair in tuberculosis and related research.

The chair was established in recognition of Dr. Frank Trudeau’s 40 years of dedicated service to the Institute.

Cooper began her scientific career at The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, where she helped describe the interaction between macrophages and protozoan parasites of the genus Leishmania. Moving to the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., Cooper expanded her investigation of leishmaniasis and leishmanial antigens to include the T-cell-mediated response of patients suffering from cutaneous, mucocutaneous and visceral forms of this disease.

She then moved to the Mycobacterial Research Labs at Colorado State University, where she began studying the protective immune response to Mycobacterium tuberculosis, a pathogen with a similar lifestyle to Leishmania but with a much greater impact on world health.

In January 2002, Cooper joined the faculty of the Trudeau Institute, allowing her to focus her investigations into the cellular immune response to Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Her Trudeau Institute laboratory is working to understand how exactly the bacterium that causes tuberculosis manipulates the human immune response. Such information will lead to improved vaccines against tuberculosis and other diseases of the lung.

“On behalf of the Trudeau Institute’s Board of Trustees, I am delighted to recognize Dr. Cooper’s accomplishments in lung research and her commitment to the Trudeau Institute,” said Ronald H. Goldfarb, the institute’s president, CEO and director. “I believe her many accomplishments in the field, combined with her stellar work ethic, make her deserving of this special honor.”

“I am extremely honored to have been appointed to this chair. I never met Dr. Francis Trudeau (who died in 1995), but I know of his commitment to ensuring the continuation of world-renowned research in the inspiring environment of the Adirondacks,” Cooper said. “During my 10 years at the institute, my research has developed tremendously and this bears witness to the vision of Dr. Trudeau in developing this center for quiet contemplation from the sanitarium and research laboratories started by his grandfather and maintained by his father. Tuberculosis research at the Institute is returning to its roots as we pursue patient-based studies in populations throughout the world. I hope Dr. Trudeau would be pleased to think that the Institute he created can be the center of an international program that we hope will change the way we treat this most persistent and damaging disease.”

Cooper earned her Bachelor of Science in zoology from University College London in 1985 and her Ph.D. in Immunoparasitology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 1989. She has authored more than 80 peer-reviewed articles and has served on the editorial board of Infection and Immunity, as a section editor for the Journal of Immunology, and as an executive editor for the European Journal of Immunology.

Cooper is a member of the faculty of 1000 and is a standing member of the National Institute of Health grant review committee for AIDS and Opportunistic Infections. She was previously awarded the prestigious DeSouza Research Award from the American Lung Association of the Southwest in 2008.