Lora Hooper, Ph.D.

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Lora Hooper is a Professor in the Department of Immunology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, where she holds the Jonathan Uhr Endowed Chair in Immunology. Dr. Hooper earned her Ph.D. in Molecular and Cell Biology in 1996 at Washington University in St. Louis. She then joined Dr. Jeffrey Gordon’s lab, also at Washington University, as a postdoctoral researcher. During her postdoctoral training she developed her ongoing interest in the intestinal microbiota. Dr. Hooper joined the faculty of UT Southwestern Medical Center in 2003 and became an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in 2008. She was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2015 and became Chair of the Immunology Department at UT Southwestern in 2016.
Her research team at UT Southwestern studies how the intestinal microbiota shapes various aspects of mammalian host physiology. The approaches used in her lab range from biochemical and structural approaches for understanding the molecular basis for intestinal immune responses, to mouse genetic approaches for identifying immune pathways that are important for maintaining host-microbial homeostasis. These studies are aimed at gaining a basic mechanistic understanding of how the immune system deals with symbiotic intestinal bacteria. More recently, her group has been exploring how the microbiota regulates mammalian metabolism through interactions with the circadian clock.