Houston native Denton Cooley heads the famed Texas Heart Institute in the Texas Medical Center. As such, he is among the world’s most productive cardiac surgeons. Until they parted company, Cooley and Michael DeBakey pioneered removal of aortic aneurysms and development of a heart-lung bypass machine. In 1944 he assisted in the world’s first “blue baby” operation. During the 1960s Cooley performed 22 heart transplant operations, and in 1969 he became the first surgeon to implant an artificial heart into a patient.