Jean Cook, PhD

Cook_Jean2013_165 Associate Professor of Biochemistry & Biophysics

Associate Dean for Graduate Education
Associate Professor of Pharmacology (joint)
PHD - University of California, Berkeley


  • 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 a process known as DNA replication origin licensing. Licensing renders individual chromosomal segments competent to be duplicated and involves the construction of a multiprotein complex at replication origins called the pre-replication complex, or “preRC.” Cook-research-image(1).pngPreRC assembly is only permitted during the G1 period of the cell cycle, and only in cellular environments that are compatible with cell division. Cells employ a variety of signaling pathways to coordinate progression through the cell division cycle with a wide variety of extracellular and intracellular information. Many of the individual licensing proteins have more than one function in the cell cycle, and our goal is to understand how those different functions are integrated to preserve normal cell proliferation. Moreover, we and others have explored the coordinate regulation of multiple cell cycle regulator proteins at major cell cycle transitions, and we continue to investigate how such coordinate regulation is achieved or modified.

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. Ultimately we hope to achieve a greater understanding of normal cell cycle control, so that future tools for cancer diagnosis and therapy 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


Cook Lab Website

120 Mason Farm Rd,
Campus Box # 7260
3062 Genetic Medicine
Chapel Hill, NC 27599

Office: 919-843-3867
Fax: 919-966-2852

Lab Rooms: 3070G-H Genetic Med
Lab Phone: 919-843-3935