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Your Environment. Your Health.

Immunogenetics Group

Inflammatory Cell Recruitment

Donald Cook, Ph.D.
Don Cook, Ph.D.
Principal Investigator
Tel (919) 541-4035
Fax (919) 541-4133
P.O. Box 12233
Mail Drop D2-01
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709

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graphic image of allergens and non-allergens through the airways
Allergic sensitization through the airway

Research Summary

Donald N. Cook, Ph.D., heads the Immunogenetics Group and holds a secondary appointment in the NIEHS Epigenetics and Stem Cell Biology Laboratory. The Immunogenetics Group uses genetic approaches to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms that lead to either immunogenic or tolerogenic responses to inhaled allergens.

The activation state and trafficking patterns of pulmonary dendritic cells largely determine the nature of immune responses to aeroallergens. The group uses gene-targeted mice that individually lack different chemokine receptors and signaling molecules to study the function of these genes in dendritic cell trafficking and maturation. In addition, the group studies the effects of different environmental agents, such as endotoxin and ozone, on the ability of pulmonary dendritic cells to confer immunogenic or tolerogenic responses to inhaled allergens.

Major areas of research:

Current projects:

  • Investigating the impact of inhaled microbial products on allergic sensitization to airborne allergens
  • Investigating the immunologic mechanisms that promote tolerogenic responses to airborne allergens
  • Functional analysis of dendritic cell subsets in the lung and draining lymph nodes

Cook earned his Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Cook has published 43 peer-reviewed articles in leading biomedical journals as well as several book chapters. Cook served as a principal scientist at Schering-Plough Research Institute and as an assistant professor in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Duke University before joining NIEHS in 2005.

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