Biomedical Research Education & Training
Faculty Member

Cooper, Michael K., M.D.
Associate Professor of Neurology

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Phone Number: (615) 322-5979

Email Address:

Cooper, Michael's picture
Academic history
B.S., Rhodes College
M.D., Univ of Alabama

Office Address   Mailing Address

MRBIII, Rm. 6160A

MRB III, Rm. 6140 8552

Research Keywords
Neurogenesis,Developmental biology,Neuroscience,Stem cells

Patient Care Specialty
Movement Disorders

Research Specialty
Neural Development.

Research Description
In the laboratory we study molecular signaling pathways in the developing nervous system. We are interested in learning how inductive signals are generated, received and implemented to coordinate cellular growth and differentiation during brain and spinal cord development. Hedgehog proteins are one of several secreted signaling molecules that are essential for normal embryonic development. Sonic hedgehog is the best characterized of three vertebrate Hedgehog signaling proteins and is of considerable interest because of its role in directing the fate of neuronal progenitor cells and in the initiation and growth of medulloblastomas, a pediatric brain tumor. Past efforts have been directed at the identification and characterization of teratogenic, plant-derived compounds as modulators of the Hedgehog pathway. These studies have served to further our understanding of how the Hedgehog signal transduction apparatus functions, to provide tools for dissecting the roles of Hedgehog signaling in both neurogenesis and organ function, and to identify a potential mechanism-based cancer therapy. Current research efforts are directed at understanding the molecular events through which Hedgehog signaling influences progenitor cell proliferation and neuronal specification. To gain a molecular understanding of these cellular responses we have recently embarked on a systematic effort to identify and characterize Sonic hedgehog gene targets. In addition to learning more about how cells respond to Hedgehog signaling in the developing brain, we are using this information to explore later roles for Hedgehog signaling in neurogenesis within the adult brain. Our hope is that molecular insight into normal pathways of neurogenesis can contribute to the understanding of a host of nervous system diseases and to better strategies for the treatment of those disorders.

Clinical Interests
Parkinson's Disease

Ehtesham, M, Sarangi, A, Valadez, JG, Chanthaphaychith, S, Becher, MW, Abel, TW, Thompson, RC, Cooper, MK. Ligand-dependent activation of the hedgehog pathway in glioma progenitor cells. Oncogene, 2007

Cooper, MK, Bateman, ST. Cisatracurium in "weakening doses" assists in weaning from sedation and withdrawal following extended use of inhaled isoflurane. Pediatr Crit Care Med, 2006

Cooper, Michael K, Wassif, Christopher A, Krakowiak, Patrycja A, Taipale, Jussi, Gong, Ruoyu, Kelley, Richard I, Porter, Forbes D, Beachy, Philip A. A defective response to Hedgehog signaling in disorders of cholesterol biosynthesis. Nat Genet, 33(4), 508-13, 2003

Berman, David M, Karhadkar, Sunil S, Hallahan, Andrew R, Pritchard, Joel I, Eberhart, Charles G, Watkins, D Neil, Chen, James K, Cooper, Michael K, Taipale, Jussi, Olson, James M, Beachy, Philip A. Medulloblastoma growth inhibition by hedgehog pathway blockade. Science, 297(5586), 1559-61, 2002

Chen, James K, Taipale, Jussi, Cooper, Michael K, Beachy, Philip A. Inhibition of Hedgehog signaling by direct binding of cyclopamine to Smoothened. Genes Dev, 16(21), 2743-8, 2002 PMCID:187469

Taipale, J, Cooper, M K, Maiti, T, Beachy, P A. Patched acts catalytically to suppress the activity of Smoothened. Nature, 418(6900), 892-7, 2002

Mu??oz-Sanju?!n, I, Cooper, M K, Beachy, P A, Fallon, J F, Nathans, J. Expression and regulation of chicken fibroblast growth factor homologous factor (FHF)-4 during craniofacial morphogenesis. Dev Dyn, 220(3), 238-45, 2001

Taipale, J, Chen, J K, Cooper, M K, Wang, B, Mann, R K, Milenkovic, L, Scott, M P, Beachy, P A. Effects of oncogenic mutations in Smoothened and Patched can be reversed by cyclopamine. Nature, 406(6799), 1005-9, 2000

Chiang, C, Swan, R Z, Grachtchouk, M, Bolinger, M, Litingtung, Y, Robertson, E K, Cooper, M K, Gaffield, W, Westphal, H, Beachy, P A, Dlugosz, A A. Essential role for Sonic hedgehog during hair follicle morphogenesis. Dev Biol, 205(1), 1-9, 1999

Cooper, M K, Porter, J A, Young, K E, Beachy, P A. Teratogen-mediated inhibition of target tissue response to Shh signaling. Science, 280(5369), 1603-7, 1998

Beachy, P A, Cooper, M K, Young, K E, von Kessler, D P, Park, W J, Hall, T M, Leahy, D J, Porter, J A. Multiple roles of cholesterol in hedgehog protein biogenesis and signaling. Cold Spring Harb Symp Quant Biol, 62, 191-204, 1997

Williams, L R, Cooper, M K. A new paradigm for postpartum care. J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs, 25(9), 745-9, 1996

Cooper, M K, Hamblen-Coyle, M J, Liu, X, Rutila, J E, Hall, J C. Dosage compensation of the period gene in Drosophila melanogaster. Genetics, 138(3), 721-32, 1994 PMCID:1206222

Williams, L R, Cooper, M K. Nurse-managed postpartum home care. J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs, 22(1), 25-31, 1993

Owen, E R, Cooper, M K, Kark, A E. Obesity surgery in the United Kingdom: survey of 970 general surgeons. Ann R Coll Surg Engl, 73(1), 36-8, 1991 PMCID:2499350

Roncella, S, Ramarli, D, Cooper, M K, Forni, M, Caretto, P, Rowe, M, Francia di Celle, P, Sessarego, M, Fo? , R, Forni, G. Establishment of an EBV-positive lymphoblastoid cell line that grows as a lymphoma in nude mice and expresses membrane CD2 molecules. Int J Cancer, 45(2), 299-307, 1990

Postdoctoral Position Available

Postdoctoral Position Details

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