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Prestigious Award for Southampton Academic

Published: 
20 May 2011

Professor Cyrus Cooper, Professor of Rheumatology and Director of the MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, has been awarded the Heberden Medal of the British Society for Rheumatology.

Professor Cooper has led the Musculoskeletal Research Programme at the University of Southampton for 19 years, and has directed the MRC Unit since the retirement of Professor David Barker in 2003. His research programme has focused on the epidemiology, pathophysiology and prevention of osteoporosis.

Discoveries include: (a) documentation of the developmental influences which contribute to the risk of osteoporosis and hip fracture in late adulthood; (b) demonstration that maternal vitamin D insufficiency is associated with sub-optimal bone mineral accrual in childhood; (c) characterisation of the definition and incidence rates of hip, spine and distal forearm fractures; and (d) leadership of large pragmatic randomised controlled trials of calcium and vitamin D supplementation in the elderly, to evaluate these as immediate preventive strategies against hip fracture.

He is Chair of the Committee of Scientific Advisors, International Osteoporosis Foundation; Chair of the MRC Population Health Sciences Research Network; Associate Director of Clinical Research at the University of Southampton Medical School; and Associate Editor of Osteoporosis International.

Professor Cooper has published extensively (over 450 research papers) on osteoporosis and rheumatic disorders, as well as pioneering clinical studies on the developmental origins of peak bone mass. He summarised these discoveries in his oration to the British Society for Rheumatology entitled: ‘Prevention of osteoporotic fracture: before the cradle and beyond the grave’.

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