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Garth Cooper

Visiting Professor of Drug Discovery and Therapeutics

  • Professor of Biochemistry and Clinical Biochemistry, School of Biological Sciences and Department of Medicine, University of Auckland

Professor Garth Cooper is one of New Zealand’s foremost biological scientists and biotechnology entrepreneurs. He is currently professor of Biochemistry and Clinical Biochemistry at the School of Biological Sciences and the Department of Medicine at the University of Auckland, where he also leads the Proteomics and Biomedicine Research Group. He is a Principal Investigator at the Maurice Wilkins Centre of Research Excellence for Molecular Biodiscovery and a member of the Academy of the Royal Society of New Zealand and of The Endocrine Society. 

In 2003, Professor Garth Cooper was named North and South New Zealander of the Year (jointly) and in 2005 as NZ BIO’s inaugural Biotechnologist of the Year. In 2005, his university laboratory received international recognition for it’s "overall research excellence in the field of metabolic diseases" with a corporate Frost and Sullivan Global Award. 

Garth discovered the hormone amylin while pursuing doctoral studies at Oxford University, and developed amylin-replacement therapy for diabetes using an engineered homologue. This led to his founding of Amylin (UK) Ltd and the NASDAQ-listed US biopharmaceutical company, Amylin Pharmaceuticals. Professor Cooper is named as inventor of more than 40 issued US and European patents.

Professor Garth Cooper’s research has led to major advances in the understanding of disease mechanisms in diabetes and related syndromes and based on these mechanisms, to the discovery of several new experimental therapies for these conditions.

Professor Cooper is currently Chairman and a founding member of the Sustainability Council of New Zealand and has served as a member of numerous scientific organizations, including the New Zealand Government’s Biotechnology Taskforce; the Maori Health Committee and the Research Policy Advisory Committee of the Health Research Council (HRC) of New Zealand; and the Scientific Committee of the Heart Foundation of New Zealand. He has also served on committees to recommend the award of the Oxford Nuffield Medical Fellowships, the Wellcome Trust’s International Senior Fellowships, the Logan Campbell Medical Trust grants, Lottery Health (New Zealand) grants and the Girdlers’ HRC Fellowships.