Bill Cooper ’87, professor and vice chair of pediatrics and director of the Center for Child and Adolescent Health Research at Vanderbilt University, discovered his love of pediatrics in medical school, but his interest in research started at Transylvania. “I had an independent study research program in chemistry working with professor Gerald Seebach,” he recalls. “Asking and answering those questions was just fascinating, and I really enjoyed it.” Following in Seebach's footsteps, Cooper has mentored many Vanderbilt students, trainees, and junior faculty in their own research projects. He was recently inducted into Vanderbilt's Academy for Excellence in Teaching.
Cooper has also continued to focus on his own research on drug safety in children. His research has been published in high profile medical journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine and Journal of the American Medical Association. Because of his expertise, he was appointed to the Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, where he helps officials better understand the safety of various medications.
Receiving the full scholarship from Transylvania gave Cooper a boost of confidence that stayed with him through college and beyond. “Having this opportunity, knowing that Transylvania believed in me enough to make this kind of investment, encouraged me to shoot higher than I might have otherwise,” he said. “As I began to prepare for medical school and faced those challenges, I drew on that confidence.”
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