Douglas Cook

Douglas Cook

Position Title

Department of Plant Pathology, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

116 Robbins Hall

Research Interests

Harnessing wild species for crop improvement

Beginning in the early 1990's, along with a small group of colleagues our lab pioneered the use of Medicago truncatula as a model genetic and genomic system for investigation of legume biology. For the past decade we have been a leading lab in the application of basic legume science towards pressing agricultural needs in the developing world. Current research spans model and crop legume systems, with a dual focus on (1) genomics, genetics, biochemistry and cell biology to characterize genes (plants and microbes) governing both pathogenic and beneficial plant-microbe interactions, and (2) ecological genomics and association genetics to understand gene function in complex natural and agricultural legume systems. Currently the lab leads an international consortium focused on the collection and characterization of crop wild relatives (and their microbes) of cultivated chickpea for use in agricultural systems. Work spans ecological genomics through breeding, genomics of domestication, gene identification for agronomic traits, the plant microbiome, and international partnerships for agricultural improvement. At the biological level, we focus on nitrogen fixaiton, drought and heat tolerance, disease resistance and plant growth promoting rhizobacteria.

Grad Group Affiliations

  • Horticulture and Agronomy Graduate Group
  • Integrative Genetics and Genomics
  • Plant Biology
  • Plant Pathology

Specialties / Focus

  • Cell and Developmental Biology
  • Environmental and Integrative Biology
  • Model Plants
  • Plant Breeding
  • Systematics and Evolutionary Biology


  • Please view the two lab websites for a list of all the personnel associated with Douglas Cook's projects. Cook Lab
  • Chickpea Project

Honors and Awards

  • Human Frontier Science Program Organization Fellow
  • Life Sciences Research Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Professor, International Graduate School in Bioinformatics and Genome Research, Universitat Bielefeld, Germany 2002-2008
  • Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation Non-Resident Fellow, 2007-2012
  • Fulbright Scholar 2006, National University of Cuyo, Argentina

    Professional Societies

    • American Society for Plant Biology
    • American Phytopathological Society


    • 1982 BS Biology Santa Clara University
    • 1990 PhD Plant Pathology University of Wisconsin-Madison


    Please refer to the Cook Lab website publication page.