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Principal investigators

Janice Cooke

Research scientist
University of Alberta
Department of Biological Sciences
CW405 Biological Sciences Building
Edmonton AB T6G 2E9

Phone : (780) 492-0412
Fax : (780) 492-9234
E-mail : Click here to email Janice Cooke
Web page : Click here to access the Web page of Janice Cooke

Research Interests

Janice Cooke is an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta.  She began her career in forest tree biology in 1989, and since that time has worked at research institutions in British Columbia, Washington State, Alberta, Florida, and Québec.

Dr. Cooke's research programme seeks to understand the molecular mechanisms that play important roles in how forest trees respond to environmental cues, and how these responses condition tree growth and adaptation.  Her group employs a diverse suite of experimental approaches in these investigations, including genomics, physiology, biochemistry, and classical molecular biology. A major research direction for her group is investigating the molecular basis of dormancy and associated processes such as bud formation, growth cessation, seasonal nitrogen cycling, and cold hardiness in white spruce and poplar. These and other dormancy-associated adaptations enable perennial plants such as forest trees to survive Canada's winters.  Bud formation, being linked to growth cessation, is also a determinant of growth and yield.  Dr. Cooke's research aims to characterize cellular and metabolic events that constitute dormancy-related process, and to identify genes that direct these processes.  In the SMarTForests project, she works in collaboration with quantitative geneticists to try to identify the genes that control the onset of dormancy and associated traits in white spruce.  In another project, Dr. Cooke and her group are using genomic and physiological approaches to understand how abiotic factors such as water limitation affect the pine’s allocation of resources into defense against mountain pine beetle and its symbiotic fungal associates.  Dr. Cooke was part of the team that discovered that mountain pine beetle had undergone a host range expansion into the jack pine of the boreal forests.  Her group is now focusing on determining how defenses differ between the co-evolved lodgepole pine host and the naïve jack pine host.


Between 2005 and 2011, Dr. Cooke has authored 27 peer-reviewed publications, given several scientific presentations, and supervised or co-supervised 38 undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral scientists and research assistants.  At the University of Alberta, she teaches BOT 205 – Fundamentals of Plant Biology, Bot 340 – Plant Physiology, Bot 445/545 – Plant Molecular Physiology, and Bot 464/564 – Plant Functional Genomics. 


  • Tsui CKM, Roe AD, El Kassaby YA, Rice AV, Alamouti SM, Sperling FAH, Cooke JEK, Bohlmann J, Breuil C, Hamelin RC. Population structure and migration pattern of a conifer pathogen, Grosmannia clavigera, as influenced by its symbiont mountain pine beetle.  Molecular Ecology, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2011.05366.x.

  • Lawrence SD, Novak NG, El Kayal W, Ju CJ-T, Cooke JEK. Molecular analysis of the maize transcriptome upon infestation by southern corn rootworm, Diabrotica undecimpunctata Howardi.  Physiologia Plantarum, accepted 2011 09 27. 

  • Galindo LMG, El Kayal W, Ju, CJ-T, Allen CCG, King-Jones S, Cooke JEK.  Integrated transcriptomic and proteomic profiling of white spruce stems during the transition from active growth to dormancy.  Plant Cell and Environment, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3040.2011.02444.x. 

  • Rigault P, Boyle, B, Lepage P, Cooke JEK, Bousquet J, MacKay JJ. (2011) A white spruce gene catalogue resource for conifer genome analyses. Plant Physiology, 157: 14-28.

  • Lusibrink I, Evenden ML, Blanchet FG, Cooke JEK, Erbilgin N. (2011) Effect of water stress and plant defense stimulation on monoterpene emission from historical and new pine hosts of the mountain pine beetle.  Journal of Chemical Ecology, 37: 1013-1026.  

  • Roe AD, James PMA, Rice AV, Cooke JEK, Sperling FAH. (2011) Spatial community structure of mountain pine beetle fungal symbionts across a latitudinal gradient. Microbial Ecology, 62: 347-360.  

  • Cullingham CI, Cooke JEK, Dang S, Davis CS, Cooke BJ, Coltman DW. (2011) Mountain pine beetle host-range expansion threatens the boreal forest.  Molecular Ecology, 20: 2157-2171. 

  • El Kayal W, Allen CCG, Ju CJ-T, Adams E, King-Jones S, Zaharia LI, Abrams SR, Cooke JEK. (2011) Molecular events of apical bud formation in white spruce, Picea glauca.  Plant Cell and Environment 34: 480-500.  Cover article.

  • Roe AD, Rice AV, Coltman D, Cooke JEK, Sperling FAH. (2010) Comparative phylogeography, genetic differentiation, and contrasting reproductive modes in three fungal symbionts of a multipartite bark beetle symbiosis.  Molecular Ecology 20: 584-600. 

  • Côté CL, Boileau F, Roy V, Ouellet M, Levasseur C, Morency M-J, Cooke JEK, Séguin A, MacKay JJ. (2010) Gene family structure, expression and functional analysis of HD-Zip III genes in angiosperm and gymnosperm forest trees.  BMC Plant Biology 10: 273. 

  • Almeida-Rodriguez A, Cooke JEK, Yeh F, Zwiazek JJ. (2010) Functional characterization of drought-responsive aquaporins in Populus balsamifera and Populus simonii x balsamifera clones with different drought resistance strategies.  Physiologia Plantarum 140: 321-333. 

  • Pitre FE, Lafarguette F, Boyle B, Pavy N, Caron S, Dallaire N, Poulin P-L, Ouellet M, Morency M-J, Wiebe N, Lim ELY, Urbain A, Mouille G, Cooke JEK, Mackay JJ. (2010) High nitrogen fertilization and stem leaning have overlapping effects on wood formation in poplar but invoke largely distinct molecular pathways. Tree Physiology 30: 1273-1289.  

  • Hacke UG, Plavcova L, Almeida-Rodriguez A, King-Jones S, Zhou W, Cooke JEK. (2010) Influence of nitrogen fertilization on xylem traits and aquaporin expression in stems of hybrid poplar.  Tree Physiology 30: 1016-1025. 

  • Roe AD, Rice AV, Bromilow S, Cooke JEK, Sperling FAH. (2010) Multilocus species identification and fungal DNA barcoding: insights from blue stain fungal symbionts of the mountain pine beetle.  Molecular Ecology Resources 10: 946-959. 

  • Voicu MC, Cooke JEK, Zwiazek JJ. (2009) Aquaporin gene expression and apoplastic water flow in bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa) leaves in relation to the light response of leaf hydraulic conductance.  Journal of Experimental Botany 60: 4063-4075.  

  • Davis CS, Bentz BJ, Bromilow S, Bartell NV, Murray BW, Roe AD, Cooke JEK. (2009) Isolation and characterization of sixteen microsatellite loci in the mountain pine beetle Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Scolytinae).  Molecular Ecology Resources 9: 1071-1073. 

  • Bomal, C., F. Bedon, S. Caron, S.D. Mansfield, C. Levasseur, J.E.K. Cooke, S. Blais, L. Tremblay, M.J. Morency, N. Pavy, J. Grima-Pettenati, A. Séguin & J. MacKay (2008). "Involvement of Pinus taeda MYB1 and MYB8 in phenylpropanoid metabolism and secondary cell wall biogenesis: a comparative in planta analysis", Journal of Experimental Botany, vol. 59, no 14, p. 3925-3939.
  • Pavy, N., B. Boyle, C. Nelson, C. Paule, I. Giguère, S. Caron, L. Parsons, N. Dallaire, F. Bedon, H. Bérubé, J.E.K. Cooke & J. MacKay (2008). "Identification of conserved core xylem gene sets:  conifer cDNA microarray development, transcript profiling and computational analyses", New Phytologist, vol. 180, no 4, p. 766-786.
  • Pavy, N., C. Paule, L. Parsons, J.A. Crow, M.J. Morency, J.E.K. Cooke, J.E. Johnson, E. Noumen, C. Guillet-Claude, Y. Butterfield, S. Barber, G. Yang, J. Liu, J. Stott, R. Kirkpatrick, A. Siddiqui, R. Holt, M. Marra, A. Séguin, E. Retzel, J. Bousquet & J. MacKay (2005). "Generation, annotation, analysis and database integration of 16,500 white spruce EST clusters", BMC Genomics, vol. 6, p. 144.
  • CookeJ.E.K., T.A. Martin & J.M. Davis (2005). "Short term physiological and developmental responses to nitrogen availability in hybrid poplar", New Phytologist, vol. 167, no 1, p. 41-52.
  • CookeJ.E.K. & M. Weih (2005). "Nitrogen storage and seasonal nitrogen cycling in Populus: bridging molecular physiology and ecophysiology", New Phytologist, vol. 167, no 1, p. 19-30.
  • Tarca, A.L., J.E.K. Cooke & J. MacKay (2005). "A robust neural networks approach for spatial and intensity-dependent normalization of cDNA microarray data", Bioinformatics, vol. 21, no 11, p. 2674-2683.
  • CookeJ.E.K., A.M. Morse & J.M. Davis (2004). "Forestry", in Handbook of Plant Biotechnology. KLEE, H and P. Cristou, Susex, Wiley, p. 881-904.
  • Morse, A.M., J.E.K. Cooke & J.M. Davis (2004). "Functional genomics in forest trees", in Molecular Genetics and Breeding of Forest Trees. KUMAR, S. and M. Fladung, New York, Haworth Press, p. 3-18.
  • Klimaszewska, K., F. Morency, C. Jones-Overton & J.E.K. Cooke (2004). "Accumulation pattern and identification of seed storage proteins in zygotic embryos of Pinus strobus L. and in somatic embryos from different maturation treatments", Physiologia Plantarum, vol. 121, no 4, p. 682-690.
  • CookeJ.E.K., K.A. Brown, R. Wu & J.M. Davis (2003). "Gene expression associated with nitrogen-induced shifts in allocation in poplar", Plant Cell and Environment, vol. 26, no 5, p. 757-770.
  • CookeJ.E.K., B.J. Cooke & D.J. Gifford (2002). "Loblolly pine seed dormancy: constraints to germination", New Forests, vol. 23, no 3, p. 239-256.
  • Davis, J.M., H. Wu, J.E.K. Cooke, M.J. Reed, K.S. Luce & C.H. Michler (2002). "Pathogen challenge, salicylic acid and jasmonic acid regulate expression of chitinase gene homologs in pine", Molecular Plant Microbe Interactions, vol. 15, no 4, p. 380-387.
  • Todd, C.D.1J.E.K.1 Cooke & D.J. Gifford (2001). "Purification and properties of loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) arginase from germinated seedlings". Plant physiology and biochemistry, vol. 39, no 12, p.1037-1045. 1These authors contributed equally to this manuscript.
  • Lawrence, S.D., J.E.K. Cooke, J.S. Greenwood, T.E. Korhnak & J.M. Davis (2001). "Vegetative storage protein expression during terminal bud formation in poplar", Canadian Journal of Forest Research, vol. 31, no 6, p. 1098-1103.
  • Todd, C.D., J.E.K. Cooke, R.T. Mullen & D.J. Gifford (2001). "Regulation of loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) arginase during germination and post-germinative growth", Plant Molecular Biology, vol. 45, no 5, p. 555-565.