Douglas Cook

image of Douglas Cook



Plant Pathology

Offices and Labs

116 Robbins Hall


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

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.


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

Department and Center Affiliations

Department of Plant Pathology
Director, Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Climate Resilient Chickpea


American Society for Plant Biology
American Phytopathological Society

CBS Grad Group Affiliations

Integrated Genetics and Genomics
Plant Biology

Specialties / Focus

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

Graduate Groups not Housed in CBS

Plant Pathology
Horticulture and Agronomy Graduate Group


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