Jean Cook

Research: Cell Cycle Control

Jean Cook

Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics
Associate Dean for Graduate Education; Pharmacology - joint appointment
(PhD - University of California, Berkeley)


120 Mason Farm Road, CB# 7260
3062 Genetic Medicine
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7260

Cook Lab Website


  • W. M. Keck Foundation Award, 2015
  • Academy of Educators Elected Fellow, 2012
  • The Jefferson-Pilot Fellowship in Academic Medicine, 2010-2014
  • Academy of Educators Teaching Excellence Award, 2010
  • National Cancer Institute's Howard Temin Award, 2003-2008


Cell Cycle Control in Human Cells

Our lab studies the regulation of the mammalian cell cycle with a particular focus on the cell cycle phase transitions related to DNA replication and to cell cycle exit. 

Cells coordinate progression through the cell division cycle with a wide variety of extracellular and intracellular information by regulating the activity and abundance of key cell cycle proteins.
 Many proteins have more than one function in the cell cycle, and one of our goals is to understand how those different functions are integrated to preserve normal cell proliferation. 

We manipulate cell cycle proteins in human cell lines using a variety of molecular genetic tools. We deplete proteins from cells using siRNA techniques, overproduce proteins using recombinant plasmid or viral vectors, and inhibit activities with pharmacological reagents. New projects employ live cell imaging and single cell analysis of protein abundance during the cell cycle. Ultimately we hope to achieve a greater understanding of normal cell cycle control so that future therapeutic tools related to regeneration and cancer treatment can be developed.

For more detailed information, as well as an introduction to the members of the Cook lab, visit our webpage:

Core Techniques:

  • human cell culture
  • RNAi
  • protein-protein interactions
  • recombinant DNA technology

RECENT PUBLICATIONS pubmed.png (Click for Full Publication List)

  • Lane KR, Yu Y, Lackey PE, Chen X, Marzluff WF, Cook JG. Cell cycle-regulated protein abundance changes in synchronously proliferating HeLa cells include regulation of pre-mRNA splicing proteins. PLoS One. 2013;8(3):e58456.
  • Rizzardi LF, Cook JG. Flipping the switch from g1 to s phase with e3 ubiquitin ligases. Genes Cancer. 2012 Nov;3(11-12):634-48. Rizzardi LF, Dorn ES, Strahl BD, Cook JG. DNA replication origin function is promoted by H3K4 di-methylation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Genetics. 2012 Oct;192(2):371-84.
  • Varma, D., S. Chandrasekaran, L.J.R. Sundin, K.T. Reidy, D.A.D. Chasse, K.R. Nevis, J.G. DelUca, E.D. Salmon, and J.G. Cook(2012) Recruitment of the human Cdt1 replication licensing protein by the loop domain of Hec1 is required for stable kinetochore microtubule attachment, in press Nature Cell Biology
  • Dorn ES, Cook JG. Nucleosomes in the neighborhood: new roles for chromatin modifications in replication origin control. Epigenetics. 2011 May;6(5):552-9.
  • Chandrasekaran S, Tan TX, Hall JR, Cook JG. Stress-stimulated mitogen-activated protein kinases control the stability and activity of the Cdt1 DNA replication licensing factor. Mol Cell Biol. 2011 Nov;31(22):4405-16.
  • Chandrasekaran, S., T.X. Tan, J.R. Hall, and J.G. Cook (2011) Stress-activated MAP kinases, p38 and JNK, control the stability and activity of the Cdt1 DNA replication licensing factor. Molecular and Cellular Biology 31(22):4405-4416.
  • Taylor, S.M., K.R. Nevis, H.L. Park, G.C. Rogers, S.L. Rogers, J.G. Cook, and V.L. Bautch (2010) Angiogenic factor signaling regulates centrosome duplication in endothelial cells of developing blood vessels Blood 116(16): 3108-3117 PMCID :PMC2974614
  • Taylor SM, Nevis KR, Park HL, Rogers GC, Rogers SL, Cook JG, Bautch VL.Angiogenic factor signaling regulates centrosome duplication in endothelial cells of developing blood vessels. Blood. 2010 Oct 21;116(16):3108-17.
  • Nevis, K.R., M. Cordeiro-Stone, and J.G. Cook (2009); Origin licensing and p53 status regulate Cdk2 activity during G1. Cell Cycle,8(12)1952-1963. PMCID: PMC2972510 (Profiled by Ge, X.Q. and J.J. Blow (2009) “The licensing checkpoint opens up.” Cell Cycle 8:2320-22.)
  • Sotillo, E., J. Garriga1, A. Padgaonkar; A. Kurimchak; J. G. Cook, and X. Graña (2009),*Coordinated Activation of the Origin Licensing Factor Cdc6 and Cdk2 in Resting Human Fibroblasts Expressing SV40 Small t Antigen and Cyclin E. The Journal of Biological Chemistry, 284(22):14126-35 PMCID: PMC2682861
  • Liu, P., D.M. Slater, M. Lenburg, K. Nevis, J.G. Cook, and C. Vaziri (2009); Replication licensing promotes Cyclin D1 expression and G1 progression in untransformed human cells. Cell Cycle, 8(1):125-136. PMCID: PMC3032797.
  • J.G.Cook; Replication licensing and the DNA damage checkpoint (2009). Frontiers in Bioscience, invited review, 14:5013-5030. PMCID: PMC3032801

Lab Contact:

Lab Rooms: 3070G-H Genetic Medicine 
Lab Phone: 919-966-3935
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