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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