EHS professor only U.S. representative participating in European Union DNA project

Marcus S. Cooke, professor at the Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences, has been accepted as a management committee observer, on behalf of the college, for the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) proposal hCOMET. Cooke is the only U.S. representative to be invited to take part in the project.Dr. Marcus Cooke

COST, funded by the European Union, provides funding for the creation of research networks. The hCOMET project creates a multi-center network that will give researchers and scientists an opportunity to standardize methodologies in collecting data on DNA damage (and DNA repair) in human populations using a technique known as the comet assay.

One goal of the project is for participants to collect research results into a combined database for pooled analysis. The second goal is to determine standard procedures and guidelines to ensure that research can be reliably compared.

“It is a tremendous honor to be a part of this project and help move this initiative forward,” said Cooke. “By providing my expertise and perspective, I hope to be an asset as we work to formalize a foundation that will allow for better standards for future research.”

The hCOMET project has participants from 24 COST member countries and four international partner countries, who are included as observers.

“Dr. Cooke has utilized the comet assay for over ten years and made a number of significant contributions, both to the assay itself and the biomedical field,” said Kim Tieu, professor and chair of the Department of Environmental Health Sciences. “This makes him well placed not only to participate in hCOMET but also be a focus for dissemination of the findings to other comet assay users in Florida, and beyond.”