Janice Cooke, PhD
Area of Study / Keywords
Forest Trees Genomics Molecular Biology Physiology Dormancy Defense
Janice Cooke received her BSc (Honours, Co-op) from the University of Victoria. After spending a couple of years working in industry, she returned to school, completing her PhD at the University of Alberta. She went on to complete postdoctoral fellow appointments at the University of Florida and Université Laval before joining the University of Alberta in 2005. She is passionate about trees. Her main interests lie in understanding molecular mechanisms that underpin how forest trees respond to environmental cues. Dr. Cooke serves as Editor-in-Chief for Tree Physiology (Oxford University Press), and is Deputy Coordinator for Division 2 of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO). Dr. Cooke has been recognized with the CD Nelson Award (Canadian Society of Plant Biologists), a McCalla Professorship and a Killam Annual Professorship (University of Alberta).
The Cooke Lab investigates how forest trees respond to biotic (e.g. pest and pathogen) and abiotic (e.g. temperature, daylength, nitrogen and water) cues in their environment. Plants can't simply move away to a new location when faced with environmental stressors, so they have evolved elegant mechanisms to contend with these forces. The goal of Janice Cooke's research programme is to identify genes and processes that shape these responses, integrating across scales of biological organization from the molecular to whole plant and ultimately to the landscape level. To achieve these goals, the Cooke Lab has collaborated with a number of talented researchers in other disciplines, participating in a number of large-scale genomics research initiatives.
For a number of years, the Cooke Lab has focused on coniferous species like pines and spruces, although we have also worked on poplars and aspen. Most of our projects have focused on forest tree responses to insect pests and fungal pathogens, and seasonally-associated developmental and physiological processes (phenology). We are presently working on four projects:
Genetic and environmental factors that affect lodgepole and jack pine responses to attack by mountain pine beetle and their fungal symbionts
Molecular modes of quantitative resistance of lodgepole and jack pine to the fungus that causes western gall rust
Factors affecting needle toughness in white spruce, influencing susceptibility to herbivory by spruce budworm
Molecular processes involved in white spruce bud set, dormancy and overwintering
Janice Cooke has been the instructor for a number of courses focused on plants, including BOT 205 (Fundamentals of Plant Biology), BOT 340/540 (Plant Physiology), BOT 445/545 (Molecular Plant Physiology), BOT 464/564 (Plant Functional Genomics), and BOT 600 (Seminar in Plant Biology).