Professor Robert Percival Cook
Lecturer in Biochemistry
Robert P. Cook was born in Melbourne, Australia, 14 April 1906. He was
educated at Scotch College, Melbourne, and the University of Melbourne, 1922-1925. In April
1926 he entered the Department of Pharmacology, University of London, to work with Professor
A. J. Clark. In October of that year he went to Cambridge and worked in the Biochemical
Laboratory with Professor Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins. He then spent some time at L’Institut
Pasteur, in Paris, where he met his wife, then returned to Cambridge, and in 1930, received his
PhD. The years from June 1932 to August 1935 were spent in industry, working on citric acid.
In October 1935, he returned once more to Cambridge.
In 1940 Cook took up his first post at University College Dundee in the then Department of
Physiology, renamed, on Cook’s suggestion, the Department of Physiology and Biochemistry.
During this time, he received his DSc (1942) and MB, BChir (1944). His wartime research concerned
nutritional values of foods in local institutions, and later he became an international authority
on cholesterol, editing a definitive book and pursuing widely quoted research. He carried out much
of his research on himself, consuming 12-egg omelettes, prepared by his wife, in order to measure
blood and excretory values.
In March 1966, full departmental status was given to the much-expanded department and Cook was
appointed Head of Department. In January 1972, he was elected to a personal Chair in Biochemistry,
and in 1973 became Emeritus Professor. He died in 1989.
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