Prof. John P. Cooke Houston Methodist Research Institute, USA

1 Talk

Academic background.
Dr. Cooke trained in Cardiovascular Medicine at the Mayo Clinic and obtained a Ph.D. in Physiology there. Thereafter he was recruited to Harvard Medical School as an Assistant Professor of Medicine. Subsequently, he was recruited to Stanford University where he was a Professor in the Division of... read moreCardiovascular Medicine, and Associate Director of the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute until his recruitment to the Houston Methodist Research Institute (HMRI) in July 2013. There, he is Professor and Chair of the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences; Director of the Center for Cardiovascular Regeneration; Founding Director of the Center for RNA Therapeutics; and Chief Translational Science Officer for the Houston Methodist Research Institute.

Research Program.
Dr. Cooke chairs the Department of Cardiovascular Science generates fundamental insights that transform cardiovascular care. The basic science effort in angiogenesis, atherosclerosis, vascular regeneration, and cardiomyocyte function are carried out by nine faculty using a range of molecular, cellular, and bioinformatics tools and technologies with a diversity of transgenic animal models. In addition, the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences provides the infrastructure for about 200 industry-sponsored and investigator-initiated trials in structural heart disease, electrophysiology, heart failure, imaging, and vascular disease.

Dr. Cooke directs the Center for RNA Therapeutics, a unique hybrid of academic pursuits and product development. Dr. Cooke’s team has developed proprietary methods for the synthesis, purification, validation, lyophilization, and delivery of mRNA. The RNA Therapeutics team at HMRI makes RNA constructs for investigators world-wide, as well as clinical grade mRNA for GLP studies and clinical trials. Furthermore, faculty in Nanomedicine work closely with the RNA Therapeutics team to develop delivery strategies for topical and systemic delivery of RNA. The HMRI has a full spectrum of comparative medicine services for GLP testing of mRNA therapies, as well as a first-in-man clinical trials unit.

Dr. Cooke has explored the use of mRNA encoding human telomerase in Hutchison Gilford Progeria Syndrome, and other RNA-enhanced cell therapies. Recent insights from the laboratory have clarified the role of innate immune signaling in nuclear reprogramming to pluripotency and therapeutic transdifferentiation using mRNA. His translational research program is focused on regenerative medicine and is funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the American Heart Association, Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas, Progeria Research Foundation and industry. Dr. Cooke has published over 550 research papers, reviews and patents (>120,000 citations; h index = 120; Google Scholar 4-17-22). For his success in generating and commercializing IP, he was named as an Outstanding Inventor of 2015 by the Office of Technology Transfer at Stanford University, elected to the National Academy of Inventors in 2019; and received the Mayo Clinic Distinguished Alumni Award in 2020. His Center for RNA Therapeutics has been recognized by the 2021 Innovation Award from the Houston Business Journal and the 2021 Best Academic Team Research, Vaccine Industry Excellence Award, at the World Vaccine Congress, Washington D.C. 5-5-21; and the 2022 Fire Award, Houston Business Journal, Top Health Care and Life Science Innovators.