Emily Cooper


  • B.A. Architecture, University of Maine, Augusta, 2007
  • B.S. Biology, University of Southern Maine, December, 2015


After working in the architecture field for several years and working on many laboratory and hospital projects, I became increasingly interested in science and medicine. The real catalyst for changing careers was the death of one of my closest friends due to sudden cardiac arrest. I returned to school at the University of Southern Maine in 2012 with the intention of completing a post-baccalaureate degree. During this time I was able to participate in a cooperative research program at Maine Medical Center Research Institute in the laboratory of Dr. Igor Prudovsky. This experience solidified my desire to purse a research career.

Research Interests

Dissertation Project My dissertation project involves understanding how diet influences vascular health and metabolism at the molecular level. Previous studies have found that restriction of a single amino acid, methionine, from the diet resulted in increased lifespan in rodent models. It was also observed that animals fed a methionine-restricted diet maintained a healthy weight through out their lifespan. My project focuses on understanding how dietary methionine restriction affects the vasculature through a unique adipose depot that surrounds the vasculature, perivascular adipose tissue (PVAT). PVAT has important paracrine and endocrine functions and becomes inflamed with high fat diet. Conversely, dietary methionine restriction changes PVAT to a more brown-like phenotype. We are interested in understanding how alterations in these signaling cascades, promote vascular health.

Ling Cao Lab Rotation, University of New England: During my rotation in the Cao Lab, my project was focused on the role of CD137L in the experience of pain after peripheral nerve injury. The project introduced me to the mouse as a model organism, gave me experience with several mouse handling and surgical techniques, as well as an introduction to flow cytometry.

Peter Brooks Lab Rotation, Maine Medical Center Research Institute: During my rotation in the Brooks Lab, my work focused on understanding the role of tumor associated macrophage (TAM) generated short collagen-like peptide, XL313 that is associated with tumor growth and cancer progression. This project utilized in vitro cell cultures as a model, western blot, ELISA, migration and adhesion assays.

Myocardial Biology and Heart Failure Lab Rotation, Maine Medical Center Research Institute: During my rotation in the Myocardial Biology and Heart Failure Lab, I worked with Dr. Sergey Ryzhov to understand the role that myeloid cells play in the development of PCAS (Post-Cardiac Arrest Syndrome), in patients following resuscitation after cardiac arrest. This project used consented human samples provided by Maine Medical Center. The project utilized mainly flow cytometry as an initial measure of inflammatory status.

Lucy Liaw Lab Rotation: During my rotation in the Liaw Lab, I worked with the mouse model to understand the role of diet on the development of vascular disease. The project used both in vivo and in vitro models to explore the molecular mechanism behind the disease phenotype, which develops as a result of high fat diet, and the amelioration of disease phenotype with dietary calorie restriction or methionine restriction. This project provided me with experience with primary cells cultures, western blot, qPCR, and Oil Red O lipid quantification.

Selected Services

  • CDA Fundraising Treasurer, Career Development Association, Maine Medical Center Research Institute (Spring 2018 – Present)
  • American Heart Association, Member (Spring 2018 – Present)
  • Association for Women in Science, Member (Spring 2018 – Present)

Selected Publications

  • Poole, A., Knowland, N., Cooper, E., Cole, R., Wang, H., Booth, L., Prudovsky, I. (2014). Transitory FGF treatment results in the long-lasting suppression of the proliferative response to repeated FGF stimulation. Journal of Cellular Biochemistry115(5), 874–888. http://doi.org/10.1002/jcb.24731
  • Poole, A., Kacer, D., Cooper, E., Tarantini, F. and Prudovsky, I. (2016), Sustained Inhibition of Proliferative Response After Transient FGF Stimulation Is Mediated by Interleukin 1 Signaling. Cell. Physiol., 231: 650-658. http://doi:10.1002/jcp.25111

Dissertation Mentor

Lucy Liaw