Dr. David Cook
Dr. David Cook
Assistant Professor, Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine | Scientist, Cancer Therapeutics Program, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute

BSc. Physiology, University of Ottawa (Ottawa, ON)
MSc. Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Ottawa (Ottawa, ON)
PhD. Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Ottawa (Ottawa, ON)
Postdoctoral Fellow, Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute (Toronto, ON)

501 Smyth Rd, Ottawa, ON, Canada, K1H 8L6


Dr. Cook obtained his PhD with Dr. Barbara Vanderhyden from the University of Ottawa, combining high-throughput screening and single-cell genomics to study epithelial-mesenchymal plasticity in cancer. This phenomenon describes the capacity of malignant cells to dedifferentiate, increasing their ability to invade surrounding tissue, evade immune detection, and resist therapeutics. During this period, he also worked on preclinical models of ovarian cancer to study disease biology and therapeutic testing. For his postdoctoral studies, Dr. Cook worked with Dr. Jeff Wrana (Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, Toronto, ON) to study how cellular phenotypes and tissue structure influence one another.

Dr. Cook is a recipient of the CIHR Banting Fellowship, the OICR Rising Star Award, and the Worton Researcher in Training Award.

Research Interests

Treatment options for ovarian cancer are limited, and while tumours often respond to initial treatments, many recur and become resistant to therapy. We use experimental and computational approaches to understand why ovarian cancer treatment fails and explore new therapeutic strategies to manage the disease.

We are currently several related directions:

  1. We study the diversity of cellular populations and their organization through the tumour microenvironment. These are fundamental characteristics of the disease and provide critical insight into the biology of the tumour.
  2. How do malignant cells adapt to changes in their microenvironment? We are particularly interested in the adaptive mechanisms underlying therapy resistance and immune evasion.
  3. We develop therapeutic approaches that manipulate adaptive mechanisms to slow tumour progression and improve treatment outcomes.

Selected publications

  • Cook, DP., Jensen, KB, Wise, K., Roache, MJ., Dezem, FS., Ryan, NK, Zamojski, M., Vlachos, I., Knott, SRV., Butler, LM., Wrana, JL., Banovich, N., Plummer, JT., Martelotto, LG. 2023. A Comparative Analysis of Imaging-Based Spatial Transcriptomics Platforms. Preprint in bioRxiv. doi: 10.1101/2023.12.13.571385. Link
  • Cook, DP., Galpin, KJC., Rodriguez, GM., Shakfa, N., Wilson-Sanchez, J., Echaibi, M., Pereira, M., Matuszewska, K., Haagsma, J., Murshed, H., Cudmore, AO., MacDonald, E., Tone, A., Shepherd, TG., Petrik, JJ., Koti, M., Vanderhyden, BC. 2023. Comparative analysis of syngeneic mouse models of high-grade serous ovarian cancer. Communications Biology. Link
  • Cook, DP., Wrana, JL. 2022. A specialist-generalist framework for epithelial-mesenchymal plasticity in cancer. Trends in Cancer. Link
  • Cook, DP., Vanderhyden, BC. 2022. Transcriptional census of epithelial-mesenchymal plasticity in cancer. Science Advances. Link
  • Cook, DP., Vanderhyden, BC., 2021. Context specificity of the EMT transcriptional response. Nature Communications. Link
  • Cook, DP., Vanderhyden, BC., 2019. Ovarian cancer and the evolution of subtype classifications using transcriptional profiling. Biology of Reproduction. Link

For all publications, please view Google Scholar

Research interests

  • Cancer
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Genomics
  • Bioinformatics