Rory Cooper

Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, FISA/PVA Endowed Chair, Distinguished Professor of the Dept. of Rehabilitation Science and Technology
University of Pittsburgh

Rory Cooper, Ph.D. is the Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, the FISA/PVA Endowed Chair, and a Distinguished Professor in Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh. He is also the Center Director at the Center of Excellence for Wheelchair and Related Technology, VA Rehabilitation Research & Development Center, and a Senior Research Career Scientist at the VA Rehabilitation Research and Development Service, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. In addition, Dr. Cooper holds a secondary appointment at Pitt as Professor in both the Departments of Orthopedic Surgery and of Mechanical Engineering and Bioengineering. Dr. Cooper is also a Professor in the Robotics Institute, School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University.

Dr. Cooper attended California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering (Signals and Systems) and his Master of Engineering in Electrical Engineering (Computer Control Systems). From there he went to the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he earned his Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical and Computer Engineering (Biomedical Engineering and Signals and Systems). He did his post-graduate fellowship at VA Rehabilitation Research and Development Center at the Edward Hines Jr. Veterans Affairs Hospital in Hines, IL, where his discipline was Rehabilitation Engineering and Science.

Dr. Cooper works in collaboration with several organizations, such as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society North America, and the American Congress of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Dr. Cooper has 20 patents that are either pending or awarded and is the author/editor of 10 books, 30 book chapters, nearly 350 peer-reviewed journal papers, and over 1,500 conference papers and abstracts. He is a Founding Editor of the Assistive Technology Research Book series. He serves as an editorial board member for American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Assistive Technology, Journal of Spinal Cord Injury Medicine, and Medical Engineering and Physics.

Dr. Cooper has received numerous honors for his work, including Advocacy Award from the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, O’s 2018 Health Heroes, the Samuel E. Heyman Service to America Medal, the Blackwood Design Award, the Paralympic Sports Science Award from International Paralympic Committee, Secretaries Award for Diversity and Inclusion from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Outstanding Civilian Service Medal from the U.S. Army War College, Mentor Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Power of Work Award from Goodwill Industries of Western Pennsylvania, the da Vinci Lifetime Achievement Award from the National MS Society – Michigan Chapter, and the Certificate of Appreciation from the National Institute on Child Health and Human Development – National Institutes of Health, amongst many others.