Learning in the shadow of greatness and compassion

The generosity of Dr Robert Cook (BDSc 1952, MDSc 1958) supports future leaders in oral and maxillofacial surgery.

A scholarship to commemorate the life and work of the late Dr Robert (Bob) Cook AM offers a unique opportunity to an emerging leader in the field of oral and maxillofacial surgery.

Dr Cook was an innovative surgeon and his work opened up new avenues of treatments in the care and correction of patients with both acquired and developmental facial deformities. His outstanding career tells the story of an energetic, compassionate and exemplary surgeon dealing with patients who were often left with a range of impairments due to surgical procedures or disease.

Such impairments can affect rehabilitation and wellbeing and leave patients with issues relating to their oral function and self-esteem. There can also be impacts on their ability to socialise and work.

Melbourne Dental School has recently awarded the Robert and Gillian Cook Family Award to Dr Rishi Ramani, a current Master of Philosophy (Dental Science) student.

Dr Ramani is deeply grateful for this award and is proud to be associated with the Cook name and legacy.

“My deepest thanks to the Cook family for their exceptionally generous award. This award will help me immensely with my research regarding confocal microscopy aided oral cancer diagnosis,” says Dr Ramani.

“I am a dental practitioner from Mumbai (India) who is pursuing a career in research and academia, starting with a Master of Philosophy. I am inspired by Dr Robert Cook's legacy of being an exceptional educator and hope to follow in his footsteps. This award will help me significantly in pursuing my goals.”

Dr Ramani’s goal is to be at the forefront of innovations in oral cancer research and contribute to the fields of oral cancer diagnosis, therapeutics and surgery. He hopes his current research project will be a landmark in the advancement of supporting technology for the treatment of oral cancer.

Professor Alastair Sloan, Head of the Melbourne Dental School, congratulated Dr Ramani and is delighted to see him start the next part of his training in the name of Dr Cook.

“I welcome this award in the certainty it will not only be transformative for Dr Ramani but his work in this area will enable the acceleration of innovative and scientific discoveries for the benefit of our community,” says Professor Sloan.

“It is wonderful to see this award made to such a driven recipient who intends to continue the area of work that gave Dr Cook so much pleasure and fulfilment.”

This story was first published on 18 November 2022 on the Melbourne Dental School News website. It has been edited and re-published with permission.