James A. Cook, Ph.D.
BS, Biology, 1967, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC
MA, Biology, 1969, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC
Ph.D., Physiology, 1975, Tulane University, School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA
Dr. Cook’s research interest is molecular mechanisms of inflammation leading to sepsis and septic shock. Septic shock occurs in more than 750,000 patients each year in the U.S., nearly 250,000 of whom die. Activation of macrophages (MØ) by microbial products such
as Gram negative bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) lead to the systemic inflammatory response of sepsis. Toll-like receptors (TLR) are pathogen recognition receptors that are activated by LPS. The LPS TLR ligands exhibit signaling through novel Gi coupled pathways. LPS tolerance induced by pre-exposure to low concentrations of LPS increases resistance to LPS lethality and alters MØ signal transduction and mediator release.
Our research interest is focused on two cellular and molecular areas; 1) the signaling pathways activated by Gram negative and Gram positive TLR ligands, and 2) counter regulatory pathways activated in tolerance. This research will employ genetically engineered cell lines, transgenic mice, RNA interference, murine embryonic fibroblast, surface plasma resonance and other state of the art molecular techniques.