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HomeFaculty › Brad Cookson, MD, PhD

Brad Cookson, MD, PhD

photo Dr. Brad Cookson

Professor, Laboratory Medicine and Microbiology;
Head, Clinical Microbiology Division, Laboratory Medicine

Contact Information

University of Washington
Department of Laboratory Medicine, NW120
Box 357110
1959 Pacific St.
Seattle, WA 98195-7110
Tel: 206.598.6131
Fax: 206.598.6189

Personal Biography

Dr. Cookson was born in Utah and grew up just thirteen miles from the ski resort that hosted the downhill event at the 2002 Olympics. He enjoys hunting, fishing, skiing, swimming, and especially being a father.

Education and Training

  • Senior Fellow, Department of Immunology and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Seattle, WA, 1993-1997
  • Resident, Department of Laboratory Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA, 1991-1994
  • MD, PhD, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri, 1991
  • BS Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1983

Clinical Interests

  • Molecular diagnosis
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology

Research Interests

  • Inflammation
  • Cell death [pyroptosis]
  • Bacterial pathogenesis
  • Non-genetic variation y

Current Research

Dr. Cookson's research with the UW Molecular Microbiology laboratory revolves around the idea that a greater understanding of immune responses will provide novel insights into host-pathogen interactions. This information will help in developing effective tools for diagnosing infectious diseases and in designing therapeutic strategies that favor quality outcomes for infected hosts.

Dr. Cookson and the Microbiology laboratory also develop detection systems, including Next Generation Sequencing, for diagnosing bacterial, fungal and parasitic infections. The goal is to improve the medical management of hospitalized patients suffering from infectious diseases. Website:

Selected Publications

  1. Larock CN, Cookson BT. The Yersinia Virulence Effector YopM Binds Caspase-1 to Arrest Inflammasome Assembly and Processing. Cell Host Microbe. 2012 Dec 13;12(6):799-805. doi: 10.1016/j.chom.2012.10.020. PMID: 23245324
  2. Stewart MK, Cookson BT. Non-genetic diversity shapes infectious capacity and host resistance. Trends Microbiol. 2012 Oct;20(10):461-6. doi: 10.1016/j.tim.2012.07.003. Epub 2012 Aug 10. PMID: 22889945
  3. Murphy SC, Prentice JL, Williamson K, Wallis CK, Fang FC, Fried M, Pinzon C, Wang R, Talley AK, Kappe SH, Duffy PE, Cookson BT. Real-time quantitative reverse transcription PCR for monitoring of blood-stage Plasmodium falciparum infections in malaria human challenge trials. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2012 Mar;86(3):383-94. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.2012.10-0658. PMID: 22403305
  4. Salipante SJ, Hoogestraat DR, SenGupta DJ, Murphey D, Panayides K, Hamilton E, Castañeda-Sánchez I, Kennedy J, Monsaas PW, Mendoza L, Stephens K, Dunn JJ, Cookson BT. Molecular diagnosis of subcutaneous Pythium insidiosum infection by use of PCR screening and DNA sequencing. J Clin Microbiol. 2012 Apr;50(4):1480-3. doi: 10.1128/JCM.06126-11. Epub 2012 Jan 11. PMID: 22205808
  5. Stewart MK, Cummings LA, Johnson ML, Berezow AB, Cookson BT. Regulation of phenotypic heterogeneity permits Salmonella evasion of the host caspase-1 inflammatory response. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Dec 20;108(51):20742-7. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1108963108. Epub 2011 Dec 5. PMID: 22143773

Honors and Awards

  • Tuesdays Public Lecture Series, 2009
  • Molecular Medicine, University of Washington and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Invited Lecturer, 2009 First
  • Science in Medicine Lecturer, University of Washington, School of Medicine, 2008
  • Nominated by University of Washington seniors as “Favorite Professor of Their Undergraduate Career”, 2006, 2007
  • National Academies (National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, the Institute of Medicine, and the National Research Council) Keck Futures Initiative Conference, Invited participant. The Genomic Revolution: Implications for Treatment and Control of Infectious Diseases, 2005
  • Nominated for Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award, 1999, 2003, 2007
  • Named “Profs Not to Miss,” The University of Washington Daily, Sept. 3, 1998
  • The only faculty from basic sciences featured in an article describing the students’ choices as the best professors on campus (eight faculty selected from the University).
  • Pfizer New Faculty Scholar, 1997-1999

  • Young Investigator Award, Academy of Clinical Laboratory Physicians and Scientists, 1992 & 1993
  • The Alexander Berg Award in Microbiology and Immunology, 1991
  • Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Medical Fellow, 1989
  • Alexander and Gertrude Berg Fellowship in Microbiology and Immunology, 1988
  • Distinguished Research Paper Award, Missouri Branch of the American Society of Microbiology, 1988
  • Individual Fellowship from Bayer Pharmaceutical Co. for research at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, 1983
  • Undergraduate Summer Research Program, Laboratory of Dr. Michael Wigler, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, 1982 & 1983
  • Magna cum laude graduate, University of Utah, 1983
  • Outstanding Student Scholarship, Dept. of Biology, University of Utah , 1981-1983
  • Honors at Entrance Scholarship, University of Utah, 1979

Last updated: 12/19/2018

HomeFaculty › Brad Cookson, MD, PhD

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