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Posted: Febraury 1, 2007       Revised: December 2, 2007

 
Dr. Chet Cooper's Home Page
 


dr c







Dr. Chet Cooper
Associate Professor

Email:
crcooper01@ysu.edu

Tel.: 330.941.1361
Fax: 330.941.1483









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research
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Current Professional Credentials (PDF Format)
links
List of  Links to Web Pages of Notable Interest
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Currently Active
Course Web Pages


Biology of Fungi
(BIOL 4848/6948)

Microbiology
(BIOL 3702)

Medical Mycology
(BIOL 4849)

Graduate Biology Seminar (BIOL 6988)

Fall Semster

Spring Semester


posted 2/2/07
Featured Links
(new links listed periodically)

Dr. Fungus

Little League Baseball


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publications
Published Journal Articles, Book Chapters, Abstracts
prg
Link to YSU Proteomics Research Group Web Page
collaborators
Colleagues, Mentors, and Other Scientific Friends
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Past and Present
Laboratory Students/Staff
personal
Family, Friends, Avocations, and (of course!) Jack Dog

Available, But Still Under Construction


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Mailing Address:

 
Department of Biological Sciences
Youngstown State University
One University Plaza
Youngstown, Ohio   44555
U.S.A.
 
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Research [Note: this section is still under construction]

My research program is divided into several areas.  Two areas of focus pertain to the study of cellular devlopment in the pathogenic fungi, Penicillium marneffei and Wangiella dermatitidis, as it relates to the ability of these microbes to cause disease in humans and animals.  Aspects of both projects involve collaborations with investigators at other institutions.  A third collaborative project carrried out in part in my laboratory is the identification of proteins and their cognate genes in the metabolism of p-cresol by the bacterium Thauera aromatica.  Brief summaries regarding each of these three main projects are provided below.

Phase Transition in Penicillium marneffei.  I have been interested in this peculiar fungus for a number of years.  Penicillium marneffei was originally “discovered” in 1955 during a series of experiments involving bamboo rats at the Pasteur Institute in South Vietnam.  The experiments failed because the rats died from a fulminant fungal infection.  When isolated, the fungus grew as a mold belonging to the genus Penicillium.  However, only single-celled yeasts were noted in dissected rat tissue.  These observations presented a conundrum since, at the time, it was believed that Penicillium species were generally non-pathogenic and existed solely as multicellular, filamentous organisms.  None were known to exhibit vegetative dimorphic behavior, i.e., to grow in two or more stable asexual morphologies.  Subsequently, the mycologist Gabriel Segretain determined that the mold in question, later named by him as P. marneffei, was indeed a dimorphic species of Penicillium and that incubation temperature alone (25°C vs. 37°C) was a factor that induced dimorphism in this fungus.  Still, between the years 1955 and 1983, P. marneffei remained a mycological curiosity.  Then in 1984, P. marneffei emerged as a pathogen of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected individuals living in Southeast Asia.  For yet unknown reasons, this fungus continues to be an endemic pathogen of immune deficient individuals and is restricted almost exclusively to this region of the world.
pm mols  pm yeastThe mold (left) and yeast (right) phases of P. marneffeiThe mold phase, produced by incubating cultures at 25°C, exhibits reproductive structures typical of Penicillium species, i.e., phialides bearing chains of conidia.  In contrast, yeast phase cells, shown here grown for 4 days at 37°C in liquid culture, reproduce by fission.
[photomicrographs Copyright © 2007 by Chet Cooper]

NSFResearch in my laboratory with P. marneffei is focused on the discovery of those molecular mechansims involved in both virulence and mrophogenesis.  We are taking a proteomic approach to identify particular proteins, and their cognate genes, that are involved in the phase transition process in P. marneffei.  A number of proteins unique to the yeast or mold phases of this fungus have been identified and we are in the process of cloning the particular genes that encode them.  This work has been funded by the National Science Foundation.  Additional support has been provided by the University Research Council of Youngstown State University, the Cushwa Foundation, and the Youngstown State University Foundation.

My laboratory also has established connections with others who are studying the basic biological aspects of P. marneffei.  Of particular note is my collaboration with  Dr. Nongnuch Vanittanakom of Chiang Mai University in Thailand.  Our laboratories have worked together in the isolation and characterization of genes that are specifically up-regulated by the yeast phase of P. marneffei.  Another key investigator in studying morphogenesis in P. marneffei, especially those molecular elements involved in cellular signaling, is Dr. Alex Andrianopoulos of the University of Melbourne, Australia.  

To better understand the current status of research investigations into P. marneffei, the following references are recommended:

Andrianopoulos, A. and Zuber, S. Signaling pathways in the dimorphic human fungal pathogen Penicillium marneffei,
pp. 441-454.  In (
Heitman, J. et al., eds.) Molecular Principles of Fungal Pathogenesis.  ASM Press, Washington, DC.  2006.

Vanittanakom, N., Cooper, C. R., Jr., Fisher, M. C., and Sirisanthana, T. Penicillium marneffei infection and recent advances
in the molecular biology aspect.
Clin Microbiol Rev 19:95-110, 2006.
   [Entrez-PubMed Citation]

Andrianopoulos, A.  Control of morphogenesis in the human fungal pathogen Penicillium marneffei.
Intl J Med Microbiol 29:331-247, 2002.  [Entrez-PubMed Citation]

Cooper C. R., Jr, Haycocks NG. Penicillium marneffei: an insurgent species among the penicillia.
J Euk Microbiol. 47: 24-28, 2000. [Entrez-PubMed Citation]


Wangiella dermatitidis as a Model for Fungal MorphogenesisWangiella dermatitidis is a black (darkly pigmented) fungus capable of causing an infectious disease termed phaeohyphomycosis.  This fungus also exhibits the unique property of being polymorphic, i.e., it can grow in one of three different morphologies.  The three morphologies include i) a single-celled, yeast that grows by a process termed budding, ii) a filamentous form that grows in a unidirectional (apical) fashion, and iii) a multicellular morphology that develops by swelling outward (isotropically) and forming internal partitions (septa) (Fig. 1).  Interestingly, the latter isotropic morphology strongly resembles a muriform, or “sclerotic”, cell that is characteristic of the tissue form of the disease chromoblastomycosis.  Other black fungi closely related to W. dermatitidis cause this infectious disease.



p-Cresol Degredation by Thauera aromaticaThis project, conducted in collaboration with Dr. Peter Coschigano at Ohio Univeristy, seeks to characterize the microbial metabolism of p-cresol metabolism by the denitrifying bacterium Thauera aromaticap-cresol is an important evironmental contaminant. The ability of T. aromatica to catabolize the structurally related compound, toluene, has been well characterized.  In other microbes, similarities exist in the metabolic pathways of toluene and p-cresol catabolism in which both are converted to benzoate.  However, different enzymes (and their corresponding genes) are responsible for these reactions.  We hypothesize that p-cresol metabolism in T. aromatica  involves a series of distinct genetic elements and their proteinaceous products.  We are testing this hypothesis by using a proteomic approach to identify proteins from T. aromatica strain that are differentially expressed when cells are grown on p-cresol. Ultimately, we wish to characterize the T. aromatica genes that encode the proteins associated with p-cresol metabolism.
 

   

Other Collaborative Research ProjectsMy laboratory has established research-related relationships with a number of individual from different institutions.  Such collaborations include the following:
Dr. Christine Weingart, Denison University (Ohio) - Proteomic aspects of salt tolerance in Burkholderia cepacia






Teaching

Teaching PhilosophyMy teaching philosophy is derived from my firm belief that students need to be active thinkers and synthesizers of information.  Other than fundamental information, I believe that teaching rote facts and figures is a disservice to both students and the educational institution.  While students in an introductory course should not be expected to “run before learning to walk”, they should nonetheless be challenged to independently derive conclusions from basic information.  By comparison, we should expect our more advanced students to exercise greater independence of thought and to convey their ideas through outstanding communication skills.  The latter should be exhibited in both oral and written presentations.  I believe it is incumbent upon faculty to help students derive the abilities to write and speak in a professional, authoritative manner.

In the classroom, I attempt to implement this philosophy by creating an educational environment conducive to learning.  I try to establish a positive relationship with students so that the classroom remains a non-judgmental haven, open to opposing views, and full of active participants.  Hopefully, I display my genuine enthusiasm for both teaching and the subject matter, thereby making students more comfortable and facilitating involvement in their own education.


Current Teaching Responsbilities
As a faculty member in the Molecular Biology and Microbiology Division of the YSU Department of Biological Sciences, my primary teaching responsidbilities are in the general field of microbiology.  In recent years, I have been the primary faculty member teaching Microbiology (BIOL 3702) and the accompanying laboratory (BIOL 3702L).  I have also taught  Medical Mycology (BIOL 4849) as well as both undergraduate and graduate sections of Biology of Fungi (BIOL 4848 and BIOL 6948, respectively).  Finally, scores of undergraduates have participated in research projects under my tutelage in Problems in Biology: Microbiolgy (BIOL 4850K).  Brief descriptions of these courses, taken from the YSU course catalogs (2006-2007 version of the YSU Undergraduate Bulletinare provided below as are links to the appropriate course web pages.
  • BIOL 3702/3702L.  Microbiology.  Fundamentals of the biology of microbes.  The principles of microbial structure, function, reproduction, metabolism, genetics, phylogeny, host-parasite relationships, and immunity.  Fundamental technical skills acquired through laboratory experiences.  Three hours lecture, three hours laboratory.  Prereq.  BIOL 2601 and concurrent enrollment in BIOL 3702L.  4 s.h.+ 0 s.h.          Home Page for Microbiology
  • BIOL 4848 and BIOL 6948.  Biology of Fungi Examination of fungal adn fungal-like organisms with an emphasis placed upon their taxonomy, phylogenetic relationships, structure, function, physiology, genetics, and ecoloy.  Exploration of their role in agriculture, medicine, and scientific research.  Prereq.  BIOL 3702 or graduate standing.  BIOL 4848 = 3 s.h.; BIOL 6948 = 4 s.h. + 0 s.h.         Home Page for Biology of Fungi
  • BIOL 4849.  Medical Mycology Survey of infectious diseases caused by fungi including their etiology, epidemiology, histopathology, diagnosis, and treatment.  Host-parasite interactions and the environmental and molecular factors that contribute to establishment of fungal disease in humans and animals.  Prereq.  BIOL 3702.  3 s.h          Home Page for Medical Mycology
  • BIOL 4850K.  Problems in Biology: Microbiolgy.  Special biological problems for which materials and equipment are available and for which the student is qualified.  Prereq.  Senior standing or consent of the chairperson.  1-2 s.h.  [No web page available]
Past Teaching ResponsbilitiesDuring my tenure at YSU, I have taught a number of other courses including Advanced Microbiology (BIOL 5840), the lecture and the laboratory sections for Microbiology for the Health Professions (BIOL 1560 and BIOL 1560L), Senior Biology Capstone (BIOL 4861), Seminar in Biological Sciences (BIOL 6988), and Topics in Clinical and Environmental Microbiology (BIOL 7000).

Future CoursesIn the near future, I will offer sections in the new undergraduate course Molecular Microbiology I: Nucleic Acids (BIOL 3716) in addition to the graduate-level course Cellular and Molecular Mycology (BIOL 6949).



Service

Information Coming Soon




Notable Links

The following contains a number of web page links to research and teaching related sites as well as those of particular interest to Dr. Cooper.  These links were correct when posted to this page, but may have changed since then.  If you discover a broken or inaccurate link, please notify Dr. Cooper by email (crcooper01@ysu.edu).  Also, contact Dr. Cooper if you have a link that you would like to be considered for inclusion among those on this list.

Research-Related Links
Teaching-Related Links
Other Interesting/Amusing Links

National Science Foundation (NSF)

Fastlane [NSF Grant Proposals]

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

National Institute of Allergy
and Infectious Disease
(NIAID)

 Entrez PubMed
[Journal Article Searches]

NCBI-BLAST [Gene/Protein Searches]

YSU Proteomics Research Group (PRG)

OhioLINK Electronic Journal Center

Primer3
[Designing PCR Primers]

Six Frame
[Translation of DNA Sequences]

Reverse Complement
[For DNA Sequences]





Turnitin.com
[Anti-Plagiarism Site]

The Fifth Kingdom
[Online Textbook
 by Bryce Kendrick - Great Fungi Pics
]

Fungal Biology
[Online Resources forText
of the Same Name Written by James Deacon]

 Prescott's et al. Microbiology
[Student Web Page for BIOL 3702 Text - Coming Soon!!!]



Youngstown State University (YSU)

YSU Department of Biological Sciences

American Society for Microbiology (ASM)

Ohio Branch - ASM (OBASM)

YSU Maag Library

Medical Mycological Society
of the Americas
(MMSA)

Tom Volk's Fungi
[Awesome Fungi Pics and Much More!!!]

KillSomeTime.com
[Free Videos, Text Messaging, Games, and Much More]




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