HudsonAlpha adds two faculty investigators

Drs. Sara and Greg Cooper are the newest members of the HudsonAlpha research team. The couple has been at the institute for about a month. 
“We are very happy to have successfully recruited Sara and Greg into two new faculty investigator positions at HudsonAlpha,” said Dr. Rick Myers, president and director of the institute. The Coopers performed postdoctoral training at the University of Washington at Seattle in two of the most prominent genetics and genomics laboratories in the country.
“They had opportunities to begin their independent faculty careers at several top institutions and we are proud they recognized HudsonAlpha and North Alabama as great places to participate in research and teaching,” added Myers.

“Sara brings expertise in both human genetics, understanding how our genes contribute to disease and health, and an exciting new area called metabolomics,” said Myers.  “Greg is an expert in genomics and genetics, the two related fields that are the cornerstone of HudsonAlpha’s research missions.”
Each of the Coopers will head a lab at the institute.
Metabolomics looks at metabolites such as lipids, sugars and amino acids. According to Sara Cooper, her lab will work to link metabolic phenotypes with genetic changes.  She aims to use metabolomics to understand disease pathology, identify biomarkers for disease and develop diagnostic tools.
Notably, cell signaling, energy transfer, and cell-to-cell communication are controlled by metabolites.
“My work encompasses genome-wide analyses of several biomedically important traits, including drug response, cardiovascular disease and early childhood neurological disease,” said Greg Cooper.  Regarding the latter, Cooper has developed methods to detect large structural mutations in human genomes using array-based genotyping technologies, and applied these methods to identify mutational contributors to autism and intellectual disability.
Myers, together with Dr. Jian Han, Dr. Greg Barsh, Dr. Devin Absher, Jeremy Schmutz, Dr. Jane Grimwood and Dr. Shawn Levy also lead labs at HudsonAlpha.
“And, I note that Huntsville now has three new residents, with the birth of their baby daughter on September 30,” added Myers.