David G. Cogan


Honorary Degree (1991)
Doctor of Science
Location: Indianapolis
Presenter: Thomas Ehrlich


David G. Cogan, MD, senior medical officer in the clinical branch of the National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health, is widely regarded as one of the leading ophthalmologists in the world. His research over half a century has resulted in pioneering advances in the pathology, physiology, neurology, biochemistry, and clinical care of the eye. His many specific contributions have profoundly influenced the treatment of eye diseases and the prevention of blindness.

Dr. Cogan received the BA from Dartmouth College in 1929, and the MD from Harvard Medical School in 1932. He served his residency at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and joined the faculty of Harvard Medical School in 1934. As director for 33 years of the Howe Laboratory at Harvard Medical School, he established the laboratory as the foremost eye research facility in the country.

Through his early commitment to collaboration between basic scientists and clinicians, an innovative concept at the time, Dr. Cogan laid the foundation for many new fields within ophthalmology. He has virtually singlehandedly opened up several new fields- one example is neuro ophthalmology- and has played a key role in establishing the scientific basis of modern ophthalmology. During four decades on the faculty of the Harvard Medical School, and subsequently at the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health, he has trained ophthalmologists who have become physicians, researchers, and teachers across the country.

Dr. Cogan is the author of textbooks that, decades after publication, continue to be central to teaching, and has published more than 500 research papers on virtually every subject relating to the health of the eye. His numerous honors include the Michaelson Medal of the Israel Academy of Sciences, the Alexander Von Humboldt-Siftung Award, the Gonin Medal of the International Council of Ophthalmological Society, and the Hiktoen Silver Medal of the American Medical Association.