Renowned immunologist and four-decade UAB researcher Max Cooper, M.D., will deliver this year’s Marx Lecture

Cooper recently won the Albert Lasker Award, known as “America’s Nobel Prize,” given to the living person considered to have made the greatest contribution to medical science.
Written by: Katherine Gaither
Media contact: Jeff Hansen

Stream Marx LpngMax Cooper, M.D.,
Photo Credit: Emory University
Max Cooper, M.D., a distinguished immunologist and 40-year career veteran of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, will return to UAB on March 11 to present this year’s 36th Bertram M. Marx Endowed Lecture, hosted by the UAB Department of Microbiology.

Cooper is known for his research characterizing T cells and B cells and his numerous unprecedented contributions to the field of immunology.

“Dr. Cooper is a towering figure in the field of immunology,” said J. Victor Garcia-Martinez, Ph.D., chair of the UAB Department of Microbiology. “He literally ‘wrote the book’ on B cell biology and the adaptive immune system. His discoveries have transcended generations of scientists, and his impact has shaped modern immunology in numerous ways. He is an outstanding role model for young scientists.”  

Cooper, a professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and the Emory Vaccine Center at the Emory University School of Medicine, came to UAB in 1967 as a professor in the Division of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology of the Department of Pediatrics and as an associate professor in the Department of Microbiology.

He went on to become a professor in the Department of Microbiology and was also involved with UAB’s O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Comprehensive Arthritis, Musculoskeletal, Bone and Autoimmunity Center, and the Cystic Fibrosis Research Center.

Cooper moved to Emory University in 2008 but remains a professor emeritus of Medicine at UAB. He is also an Emory University School of Medicine Eminent Scholar, Georgia Research Alliance investigator and investigator at the Emory Center for AIDS Research.

Among his many notable awards, Cooper became UAB’s first member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1988 and was named to the National Academy of Medicine in 1990. He received the American Association of Immunologists Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000, was inducted as a foreign member of the British Royal Society in 2017 and received the Japan Prize in 2018. 

In 2019, Cooper, together with Jacques Miller, was awarded the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research, an award that frequently precedes a Nobel Prize in Medicine. The Lasker Award, known as “America’s Nobel Prize,” is given by the Lasker Foundation to the living person considered to have made the greatest contribution to medical science.

“Dr. Max Cooper’s contributions to the field of immunology and medicine at large characterize him among the most distinguished scientists to have called UAB home,” said Anupam Agarwal, M.D., senior vice president for Medicine and dean of the Marnix E. Heersink School of Medicine. “I am thrilled that he is returning to share his invaluable insights with the UAB research community.”

The 36th Bertram M. Marx Lectureship will take place Monday, March 11, at 3 p.m. in-person in Room 102, the Cudworth Building. Cooper will present “Evolution of Lymphocyte-Based Immunity.” A reception will follow in the Bevill Biomedical Research Building lobby.