Introducing Team Cooke


Eduard Yakubov
Jieun Lee
Nick Leeper
Previous Members
Elliot Mar
Nazish Sayed




Primary Investigator

John Cooke


Dr. Cooke is a specialist in Vascular Medicine, with a research focus on endothelial and stem cell biology. He trained in Cardiovascular Medicine at the Mayo Clinic and obtained his Ph.D. in physiology there. Subsequently, he was recruited to Harvard Medical School as an Assistant Professor of Medicine.


In 1990, Dr. Cooke was recruited to Stanford University to spearhead the program in Vascular Biology and Medicine. Dr. Cooke is Professor and Associate Director of the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute, and directs the Vascular Biology and Medicine Program at Stanford. This is a well-funded research group with grants from the National Institutes of Health, the American Heart Association, and industry. Dr. Cooke has published over 350 articles on topics of atherosclerosis, angiogenesis and vascular regeneration. His translational research focuses on endothelial regeneration and angiogenesis, using murine models of peripheral arterial disease. He also directs clinical trials in angiogenesis, adult stem cells and vascular regeneration.

In addition to conducting a successful program of bench to bedside research in vascular biology and medicine, Dr. Cooke is an innovator and entrepreneur in new therapies and diagnostics for vascular disease. He is a sought-after consultant to government and industry and has served on numerous national and international committees that deal with cardiovascular diseases, including those of the American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Dr. Cooke has special expertise in development of agents for peripheral arterial disease. Accordingly, he provides guidance to biotechnology, device and pharmaceutical firms regarding their basic and clinical research directions in vascular medicine.





Postdoctoral Scholar

Sheena Abraham


Sheena obtained her Ph.D. degree in Chemical and Life Science Engineering at Virginia Commonwealth University in 2010, under the supervision of Dr. Raj R. Rao. Her graduate studies were based on identification and characterization of substrates for long term undifferentiated proliferation of human pluripotent stem cells. She worked on human cellular and acellular feeders in addition to protein based and in-direct culture systems to identify a suitable xeno-free culture system. Her graduate work also involved identification and characterization of a biocompatible hydrogel to encapsulate a subcutaneously implantable lactate biosensor.

As part of a study in the Cooke lab, Sheena is involved in the validation of suitable extracellular matrix protein combination and concentrations that support and augment directed differentiation of pluripotent cells into the endothelial lineage and its characterization. She is also interested in the generation of functionally optimal vascular grafts for therapy.



Postdoctoral Scholar

Moritz Brandt



Moritz Brandt joined the Cooke lab in July 2012. He obtained his M.D. from the University of Mainz in 2009 and started his residency/fellowship in internal medicine and cardiology at the University Medical Center. He finished his thesis on the mechanisms underlying endothelial dysfunction in a rat model of diabetes mellitus in the lab of Thomas Münzel in 2011.

Funded with a “Virchow fellowship” by the Center for Thrombosis and Hemostasis in Mainz, he is now taking time off from patient care to immerse into the artistry of preclinical research.

His is interested in ideas and techniques that are translatable into patient care (such as high frequency ultrasound for cardiovascular imaging in small animals) and is now involved in projects that focus on advancing recent finding of telomere biology into animal models.





Research and Education

Crystal Botham



Crystal joined the Cooke laboratory in June 2011. She supports the lab’s research and educational mission by preparing funding proposals and implementing educational initiatives.

Previously, she completed her postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford in the lab of David Lewis (pediatrics). She determined that immune responses to influenza vaccination adjuvanted with cationic lipid-DNA complexes were independent of Toll-like receptor 9, a DNA receptor. While in the Lewis lab, she was a John and Tashia Morgridge Endowed Postdoctoral Fellow and received an NIAID NRSA. She received her Ph.D. in biology from the University of Oregon. In the lab of Karen Guillemin, she investigated cell signaling pathways disrupted by CagA, H. pylori’s effector protein. This research was supported by an American Heart Association Pacific Mountain Predoctoral Fellowship.  Recently, she instructed courses in genetics for the UC Berkeley Extension program.

Crystal is a native of Half Moon Bay, CA, where her family owns Princeton Seafood Co. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, reading and traveling with her husband and young sons.





Postdoctoral Scholar

Yohannes Ghebremariam


I was born in Asmara (Eritrea). I attended elementary and secondary schools until 1995. I graduated from the University of Asmara in Medical Laboratory Technology (Distinction) in 2000. In 2001, I graduated from Peninsula Technikon (South Africa) with B. tech degree (Cum Laude) in Biomedical Technology. In 2002, I joined the University of Cape Town and graduated with BSc (Med) (Hons) in Medical Microbiology. I obtained my Ph.D. from the University of Cape Town in December 2006.

My multidisciplinary doctoral work has greatly benefited me to enjoy the core science in Virology, Surgery and Pathology. I have developed ischemia/reperfusion injury models and evaluated the therapeutic potential of a complement inhibitor.

My Postdoctoral work in Dr Cooke’s lab is to investigate the biochemistry of the DDAH/ADMA/NOS pathway and I am also involved in the ongoing nuclear reprogramming project. Currently, I am trainee member of the American Society for Investigative Pathology and the Society for Vascular and Molecular Biology.       





Ngan Huang


I completed my PhD in bioengineering at the University of California Berkeley & San Francisco Joint Program in Bioengineering under the supervision of Dr. Song Li and Dr. Randall J. Lee.  My undergraduate degree in chemical engineering was completed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) under the research mentorship of Dr. Robert Langer. 

As a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Cooke’s lab, I am currently examining the differentiation of embryonic stem cells into endothelial cells for systemic therapeutic treatment of peripheral arterial disease.  In particular, my lab is interested in studying the role of the endothelial nitric oxide synthase pathway in regulating angiogenesis using embryonic stem cells.  In addition, I am interested in applying embryonic stem cells towards engineering synthetic vascular grafts for therapeutic repair.

Previously, my doctoral research involved several key projects related to cardiovascular and skeletal muscle repair and regeneration using stem cells and biomaterials.  These projects focused on the regulation of chemical and physical cues in regulating cellular organization and tissue morphogenesis.  This body of work spanned the spectrum of nano-, micro-, tissue-, and global-scale responses. 

Prior to graduate school, I have had various rewarding research experiences.  I worked with human embryonic stem cells in Dr. Robert Langer’s lab at MIT in developing three-dimensional constructs using poly(lactic acid) porous scaffolds.  At Guidant, I designed ex vivo carotid artery flow systems for analyzing drug-release in drug-coated stents at Guidant, and I fabricated carbon-nanotube-based devices for energy storage at NASA.



Basic Research

Arshi Jha


I completed my Bachelor’s and Master’s from University of California, San Diego. My research during the undergraduate and graduate years focused on Diabetes and hypertension. Under the guidance of Dr. Daniel T. O’Connor and Sushil K. Mahata, I examined the effect of Catestatin (an antihypertensive peptide) on cardiopathologies surrounding diabetic and hypertensive patients.

I joined the Cooke lab in June 2012 as a LSRA. Currently, I am responsible for generating PAD disease model in small animals. I intend to use the experiences from my Master’s as well as the Cooke lab for furthering and pursuing my own research interest in the future. In addition, I am very passionate about medical sciences and hope to have a career as a medical doctor as well as a biomedical scientist.



Clincial Research

Fouzia Khan


I received my MD from Dow University of Health Sciences, Karachi, Pakistan. During medical practice, I had the opportunity to contribute to retrospective clinical research studies on OB/GYN patients.  I have also worked at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, San Jose, and contributed to their database on colonoscopies in relation to clinical research studies in Gastroenterology.

I joined the clinical research team in 2012, and I am currently involved in the clinical trials on peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and critical limb ischemia (CLI). I work with the clinical team to enroll and screen patients, conduct follow-up by questionnaires , study related tests/exams and calling study participants. I am also involved in the regulatory and budgeting process for the different clinical studies.

I am excited to join the Cooke team to improve my knowledge of endothelial dysfunction and peripheral arterial diseases.  I am also thankful for the opportunity to be a part of clinical research that can help patients in the future.

In my free time, I like to spend time with my family, including my son and twin daughters.




Postdoctoral Scholar

Jieun Lee


Jieun Lee obtained her Ph.D. degree in Medical Science at Yonsei University (Seoul, Korea) in 2007 under the supervision of Dr. Si-Young Song. During her graduate studies, she planned, organized, and carried out research projects on pancreatic carcinogenesis and developmental pathways of β-cell differentiation from pancreatic precursor cells. Through this process she developed knowledge of isolation methods of stem/precursor cells, performed cell line establishment and characterization, and transplanted the (stem) cell lines she created into an injured animal model toward cell therapy for diabetes. Jieun is also interested in developing (cancer) stem cell markers and isolation methods, applying findings about the mechanisms of the origination of cancer from stem cells toward preventative therapy, as well as investigating prediagnostic markers of cancer.

As part of a current study in Dr. Cooke’s lab Jieun is investigating the angiogenic mechanisms by which endothelial α7-nAChR mediates the vascular effects of nicotine. Additionally, with her knowledge of stem cell and regenerative biology, she is interested in cell-based therapy using nuclear reprogramming for vascular regeneration in critical limb ischemia. She has developed her research ability and has learned the broadened scientific knowledge related to angiogenesis and vascular regeneration in Cooke lab.





nick leeper


Dr. Leeper is an Instructor of Medicine and a member of the Stanford Vascular Medicine and Biology Program.   He holds degrees with honors in Chemistry and Medicine from the University of Chicago, and completed his Internal Medicine training at the University of California, San Francisco.  Dr. Leeper joined the Clinical Investigator Pathway at Stanford University in 2005, and served as the Division’s Chief Cardiovascular Fellow in 2007.   He has completed his clinical cardiology training and is now taking advanced training in the treatment of patients with peripheral vascular disease.  His academic interests focus on pathological vascular processes such as atherosclerosis, vessel inflammation, endothelial cell dysfunction, and aneurysm formation.   His vascular biology studies to date have focused on the role of the Apelin molecule in atherosclerogenesis and macrophage activation, as well as elucidating the genetic mechanisms of disease associated with mutations on the 9p21 chromosome.  Ongoing research efforts are specifically aimed at elucidating the role of microRNAs in vascular diseases and studying novel methods of inducing vascular regeneration.



Basic Research

Elliot Mar


Elliot Mar is a San Francisco native, and joined the Cooke Lab in June 2012 with support from a CIRM grant. He is a member of the RNA core.  

Elliot graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School ( San Francisco ) in 2008, and obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in 2011 from UC Davis with a Biotechnology Major concentrated in Microbiology/Fermentation. During his undergraduate tenure, he studied the dynamics of ATP release in endothelial cells under Dr. William Ristenpart. He is currently enrolled in a Master of Biotechnology program at San Jose State University (Class of 2013), and currently wishes to pursue an MBA at Santa Clara University .

In his free time, he enjoys coaching youth basketball, playing basketball, playing video games, chasing food trucks, eating, and talking to new people.




Postdoctoral Scholar

nazish sayed


I was born and raised in India where I received my MD degree from the University of Mumbai. After two years of medical practice, I decided to further continue my education and thus pursued a PhD from New Jersey Medical School – UMDNJ. Working with my supervisor, Dr. Annie Beuve I had the opportunity to explore mechanisms underlying the clinical problem of nitrate tolerance. The title of my PhD dissertation was “Desensitization of soluble guanylyl cyclase, the nitric oxide receptor, by S-nitrosylation: Implications for nitrate tolerance”. We hypothesized that guanylyl cyclase desensitization might be involved in the mechanism of NO and nitrate tolerance via S-nitrosylation. To continue my scientific growth and get more advanced training in molecular physiology, I joined Dr. Andrew Mark’s lab at Columbia University where I worked on elucidating the role of ryanodine receptor/calcium release channels and BK channels in airway smooth muscle.

I am excited to join Dr. Cooke’s laboratory as a postdoc where I have focused my interests on a project involving new chemical entity (NCE) based strategy for nuclear reprogramming. This project aims to overcome the genetic errors encountered during nuclear reprogramming and to increase the efficiency of generating safe iPSCs for translational applications.



Postdoctoral Scholar

jack wong


Jack Wing-Tak Wong obtained his Ph.D. degree from the Faculty of Medicine at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, under the supervision of Dr. Yu Huang. Jack’s PhD was directed to the role of bone morphogenic protein 4 on endothelial cell dysfunction. His works uncovered that BMP4 induces endothelial dysfunction through oxidative stress-dependent cyclooxygenase-2 up-regulation, which may have implications in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. This study has been recently accepted for publication in Circulation Research.

Jack joined Dr John Cooke’s laboratory as a postdoctoral research fellow in August 2010. His current research in Dr. Cooke’s lab is focused on the development of methods to enhance nuclear reprogramming using novel chemical entities (small molecules) and to generate human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). Another focus is on the understanding of important factors involved in endothelial cell differentiation from iPSCs. In particular, Jack is currently interested in looking at how arachidonic acid may be involved during the differentiation of iPSCs into endothelial cells.

Jack served as the editorial board member for Clinical and Experimental Physiology & Pharmacology and Food & Nutrition Sciences. Jack also taught the Master of Science for Stroke and Clinical Neurosciences at the Chinese University of Hong Kong since 2007.




Basic Research

Eduard Yakubov

I graduated with a PhD in Weizmann Institute of Science (WIS, Rehovot, Israel) in the department of Neuroscience under the supervision of Prof. E Yavin.  I was investigating on the expression of genes in the CA1 hippocampus region of adult rat following episodes of global ischemia using subtracted SSH cDNA libraries. I was one of the first to combine the use of SSH cDNA subtraction with a high-throughput Affymetrix GeneChips (AGC) platform.  This protocol was enabled to reveal a genomic marker with more than 10-fold increased sensitivity compared to traditional technology using no subtracted targets. This led me to demonstrate a dramatic improvement of Affymetrix's analysis of differentially expressed genes and set the goal to analyze peripheral tissues (including brain and blood) where low signal-to-noise ratios (limited between 1/100,000 and 1/500,000) are currently beyond detection levels by the microarray technology.

During two first years of my postdoctoral training in the School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University I worked on a process consisting of an integrated platform to facilitate screening and qualification of a small improved subset of genes through multiple related biological samples. The next two years in WIS, in the department of Molecular Cell Biology under supervision of Prof. D. Givol, my work was focused on reprogramming somatic cells into induced pluripotent cells (iPSCs), using mRNA of several Yamanaka’s transcription factors. This work is summarized in Feb. 2010 publication (BBRC 394, 2010, pp189-93). We were the first to demonstrate the feasibility of mRNA as a reprogramming agent. This new concept and method is going to be the main road in this field.

Prior to joining the Cooke lab, I as Research Scientist in University of Virginia (UVA, Charlottesville, USA) in department of Neuroscience in the lab of Dr. J. Kipnis. I was involved in a few projects, investigated mRNA as a tool to deliver the therapeutic genetic information into immune and neuronal cells. These include, RNA based transient redirection of T cells specificity and using mRNA of non-mutant isoforms of MeCP2 alfa and beta as potential drugs for Rett Syndrome treatment, also I was involved in further developing RNA induced pluripotent stem cells (RiPSC) protocol.

I was excited to join the Dr. Cooke lab in January 2011 as a Research Associate. My research here focuses on developing non-integrative reprogramming and transdifferentiation (lineage reprogramming) protocols based on treatment of different types of patient-specific cells with modified mRNA (mmRNA). Specifically, using different sets of well characterized reprogramming, transdifferentiation and differentiation transcription factors encoded by mmRNA I will (1) design a new generation of bi- and polycistronic mmRNA constructs enabling the most efficient and fast reprogramming of a patient-specific cells to a pluripotent state; establish protocol/s for (2) direct conversion of human fibroblasts into mature endothelial cells or/and their progenitors; (3) differentiation of RiPS into other required terminally differentiated somatic cell types.  

Additionally to my scientific work I have also worked as an expert in a few Israel based biotech companies specializing on hES/iPS technologies.



Group Photos

July 2012

2012 Group Photo

Left to Right: Nick Leeper, Crystal Botham, Julieanna Qu, Sheena Abraham, Yohannes Ghebremariam, William Bennett, Jieun Lee, Arshi Jha, John Cooke, Ngan Huang, Moritz Brandt, Paul Hamilton, Elliot Mar, Nazish Sayed, Jack Wong, Eduard Yakubov.



First day of medical school for 2 of our previous lab members, Andrea Axtell and Evan Shannon.


clinical team

A tight clinical team makes the study better. Left to Right: Eiichiro Kimura, Homa Tavana, Sara McGee, Randall Harada.








Recent Cooke Lab Members



Basic Research

Henry Zhu



It was my pleasure to join Dr. Cooke's Lab as a research assistant.  I am responsible for lab management, ordering, equipment maintenance, virus propagation and assisting postdoctoral fellows research projects.  Before I came to Stanford University I worked at Johns Hopkins University for more than 7 years as a research specialist working on the projects studying Malaria in Public health laboratory and Parkinson's disease in Neuroscience laboratory.  I mastered a lot of skills to work with DNA, protein and virus.  I performed expression of protein, purification & characterization of protein for structural analysis by X-ray crystallography, making protein quality control measurements, optimizing the condition for the crystallization of proteins. 




Postdoctoral Scholar

Porama Koy Thanaporn



Porama Koy Thanaporn joined the Section of Vascular Medicine in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine as clinical fellow in 2008.  Koy received his undergraduate degrees in Bioengineering and Biology at the University of Pennsylvania summa cum laude where he was a Benjamin Franklin Scholar and was elected to Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society.  He has worked as a planning officer in AIDS education and prevention at the Population and Community Development Association, a well-known non-government organization headquartered in Bangkok, Thailand.  From 1998-1999, Koy was a healthcare reform analyst in Office of the Permanent Secretary of the Royal Thai Ministry of Public Health. 

Koy graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School in 2005.   While a medical student, he was the Marion S. DeWeese Research Fellow in the Jobst Vascular Research Laboratory where he worked under the guidance of Drs. Thomas Wakefield and Peter Henke investigating p-selectin's role in accelerated deep venous thrombosis resolution and the use of low molecular weight heparin to prevent post-thrombotic fibrosis.  He has co-authored articles which have been published in Atherosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology; Journal of Vascular Surgery; and Surgery.  He completed his residency in Internal Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine in 2008.  His interests include vascular biology, engineering of vascular grafts, and translational research with a focus on therapeutic angiogenesis.





Clincial Research

Shyam Panchal




Shyam Panchal, M.A.C.I. joined the Vascular Regeneration Team in October of 2010 reporting to Dr. John Cooke, Professor of Medicine and Associate Director (Education and Training) of the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute. He received his BS in microbiology from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and his MA in clinical investigation from the Boston University School of Medicine. Mr. Panchal's areas of expertise include clinical trial design and conduct. He has been involved with clinical operations, research, and trial development since 1998 when he served as a clinical microbiologist and histologist aide at O'Connor Hospital in San Jose, California. From 2004 to 2007, Mr. Panchal was also the lead clinical database architect for three global clinical trials at Abbott Laboratories: Providing Regional Observations to Study Predictors of Events in the Coronary Tree (PROSPECT), a vulnerable plaque study; ABSORB-FIM, a study on the bioabsorbable coronary stent; and SPIRIT-V, a post-marketing study for XIENCE V CE. Mr. Panchal has worked at Stanford in the past. In 1999, he served as an emergency room assistant for Stanford Emergency Services, from 2000 to 2004, he worked as the clinical research associate for the comparative and clinical studies of the cardiac transplant population in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine and most recently from 2007 to 2008 he served as clinical project manager for Interventional Radiology working with Faculty and Medical Students on industry and investigator initiated clinical research projects.

Our current clinical investigations include a novel cellular product for the treatment of critical limb ischemia (CLI), the end stage of Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) and a novel small molecule for the treatment of claudication due to Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD).

Panchal was born in Mountain View, California and has enjoyed attending elementary through high school in the bay area. He enjoys road trips, visiting Beantown and planning the next adventure.

Panchal enjoys the sport of triathlon as a recreational athlete for the marvel of human physiology and adaptation, mind-body benefits, and teamwork on & off the field. "There is a great sense of self-satisfaction when you reach your fitness and health goals. So with baby steps I move forward to the next challenge." Panchal is currently training for IM Italy in June 2011 and IM Canada in Aug 2011.





Basic Research

Janet Okogbaa


Janet graduated from Stanford University in June 2010 with a degree in Human Biology. Under the mentorship of Drs. Marcia Stefanick and Jennifer Tremmel, her studies focused primarily on sex differences in cardiovascular physiology and disease. In her last two years, she was involved in a clinical research project exploring the effect of gender on the success of percutaneous intervention for chronic total occlusions of the coronary arteries. As an undergraduate, Janet also competed on the varsity volleyball team, earning All-America honors.

Janet joined the Cooke lab in July 2010 and was awarded NIH funding to investigate the potential of human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) for therapeutic angiogenesis. Her efforts in the lab span the basic science and translational levels, as she is involved in both the generation of hiPSCs and the functional assessment of these cells in a murine model of peripheral arterial disease. Janet is also working on a project investigating a possible link between impaired cerebral venous outflow and multiple sclerosis. After her time in the Cooke lab, Janet plans to go to medical school to follow her high school dream of a career in cardiovascular medicine and research.





Basic Research

Jerry Lee


I was born and raised in San Diego until coming to college at Stanford University, earning a Bachelors degree with Honors in Human Biology and a Masters degree in Biology.  During my studies at Stanford, I completed an honors thesis on the role of Hox genes in alternative developmental pathways, under the mentorship of Professor Anthony De Tomaso.  I also conducted research on the cost-effectiveness of HIV diagnostics in Lesotho with funding from Stanford's UAR grant.

Outside of research, I was a SCOPE emergency room intern for several years and a RVPC/Global Healing intern working in Roatan, Honduras. These experiences fostered my growing interest in medicine and contributed to my decision to apply to medical school.  I was fortunate enough to continue developing my interests in medicine in 2010 when I joined the Cooke lab as an LSRA, working on in vivo models for peripheral arterial disease.  I hope to use my experience with the Cooke lab as a starting point for pursuing my own research in the future.

In my spare time, I enjoy photography and singing.  I am currently a CASA for Silicon Valley and am active in Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship.  I also teach the AP biology course at Live Oak Academy in San Jose.





Basic Research



I am a second year Master of Biotechnology student at the San Jose State University. I will be working in the Dr. Cooke's lab as a part of the Stem Cell Internship program (SCILL). I have completed a Stem Cell training program at the Stanford Institute of Regenerative Medicine and will be working in the Dr. Cooke's lab for a year. 

Past Research/Work Experiences:

  • Applications/Fuel Ethanol Intern, Genencor International (summer 2009)
  • Microbiology and Cell Biology Lab Teaching Associate, SJSU (2008-2009)
  • Microbiology Intern, Cobalt Biofuels (summer 2007)
  • Volunteer, Cell and Developmental Biology Lab, UC Davis (summer 2007)
  • Volunteer, Toxicology lab, SJSU (2006-2007)





Basic Research

joerg herold


Dr. Joerg Herold is a visiting scholar from Germany. Since 2008 he has been affiliated with the Otto-von-Guericke University of Magdeburg as a trainee in the practice of cardiology and angiology. He completed his internal medicine training at the University of Technology in Dresden from 2004-2008.

From 2001-2004 he was supported by a research scholarship from the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft-DFG) and a stipend from Max Planck Society while completing his doctorate in cardiovascular research. He completed his dissertation at the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research-Bad Nauheim under the mentorship of Professor Wolfgang Schaper. He graduated summa cum laude and worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the Laboratory of Professor Braun-Dullaeus.

Dr. Herold is the recipient of the German Society of Internal Medicine Young Investigator Award 2003, ISHR World Congress Early Investigators Award 2004, German Society of Angiology Award for Best Dissertation for his project “Transplantation of Monocytes: A New Tool for in vivo Augmentation of Collateral Vessel Growth”.  He is published in numerous national and international journals.

He is currently supported by a Wilhelm-Stoffel Scholarship from Merck and Co. and is working in the Cooke Laboratory. His research interests are hindlimb ischemia, cell therapy for augmentation of arteriogenesis, and gene therapy.

His hobbies include photography and chameleon husbandry.





Basic Research



I was born in Iran but raised in nearby San Jose. For college, I went to the University of California at Berkeley, where I earned a degree in Molecular Cell Biology with an emphasis in Immunology in May of 2007. It was during those four wonderful years at Berkeley that I decided that I wanted to pursue a career in medicine. I took a year off after graduating and applied to medical schools while continuing my work at the Lung Biology Center at UCSF.  

I was fortunate enough to gain admission to Stanford University School of Medicine that year and made the long journey down to the Farm. At the end of my first year, I had the privilege to join Professor’s Cooke’s laboratory and received funding through Medical Scholar’s program in the SUSOM.  I am now a second year medical student with an intense interest in cardiovascular medicine.

In the free time that I do have, I try to stay active as much as possible – reminiscing about my earlier wrestling career back in high school. I also really enjoy hiking, farming (in our allocated 4’ by 14’ plot in Stanford), and spending time with family.





Clinical Research



I graduated from Stanford University in June 2009 with a B.A. in Human Biology. I have been working with the Cooke lab as part of a special project that is researching a recently discovered phenomenon called Chronic Cerebrospinal Venous Insufficiency, and its association with Multiple Sclerosis. We have been working closely with faculty from several departments in the School of Medicine in the hopes that Stanford will be recognized for its role in pioneering research into this hypothesis.

Within the Human Biology major, I focused my studies on the Mechanism and Epidemiology of Disease. While at Stanford, my particular research interests were the burden of infectious disease on the developing world and the efficacy of public health initiatives in the United States and abroad. You may ask, “Then why are you studying MS in a cardiovascular lab of all places?” I believe MS research is especially important because although it afflicts hundreds of thousands of Americans, it is still very much misunderstood. If we are able to define a vascular component to the disease, it could lead to the development of effective therapies that would offer a more optimistic outlook for people with MS.

Beginning in September 2010, I will be attending the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine. I do not know what specialty I will pursue, but I am interested in Infectious Disease, Pediatrics and Cardiovascular Medicine. I have been looking forward to medical school my entire life and I am thrilled to spend the next four year in San Francisco, which is my favorite city in America. Although I have been in the Bay Area for the past five years and will be staying here for at least four more, I will never betray my Boston roots, i.e. the Red Sox. Besides being an avid sports fan, my hobbies include hiking, playing tennis, Frisbee, singing, playing and listening to music and traveling.





Clinical Research



John Sun is currently an undergraduate, class of 2011, at Stanford University. He has worked in the lab part time from the winter of 2008 to the summer of 2009, where he is now working now working full-time as a research assistant.

The main focus of his work is on how extra-cellular factors, specifically the extra-cellular matrices direct the differentiation of embryonic stem cells towards an endothelial lineage.

In his free time, John likes to go backpacking, hike, play badminton, and swim.




Clinical Research



I was born in Teheran, Iran and grew up in Vienna, Austria. In 2005 I obtained my M.D. degree at the Medical University of Vienna and then started my specialization in Internal Medicine and Cardiovascular Medicine at the Vienna Private Clinic (2005-2007) and the Division of Angiology of the Medical University Graz (2007-2008). From March 2008 to fall 2009, I joined the Division of Angiology at the Medical University Vienna under the supervision of Professor Renate Koppensteiner.

My special focus in research lies in the field of peripheral and cerebrovascular arterial disease, endothelial dysfunction and the methods to assess it. Moreover, I am interested in lipid metabolism disorders and their effects on the endothelium. In October 2009, I received a scientific award from the Austrian Society of Vascular Surgery for a study investigating endothelial dysfunction in patients with familial hypercholesterolemia undergoing LDL-apheresis. I am excited to join the Cooke team to improve my knowledge in field of endothelial dysfunction and peripheral arterial  diseases.

In my spare time I enjoy performing Yoga, travelling and getting to know foreign cultures.





Basic Research


I graduated with a PhD in Biomedical Science from Department of Surgery, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore in 2007 under the supervision of Prof Eugene Sim Kwang Wei, Prof Khawaja Husnain Haider and Prof Cao Tong. The title of my PhD dissertation was “Myocardial protection and therapeutic angiogenesis using peptide and embryonic stem cells”. I was investigating on the cardioprotective effect of des-aspartate-angiotensin-I and the efficiency of human embryonic stem cells differentiation into vascular cells via transduction with adenoviral vector expressing human VEGF165 gene and assessing the effect of transplanting these cells in a myocardial infarction model.

I joined Dr Cooke’ Laboratory in June 2008 as a postdoctoral research fellow funded by National University of Singapore Overseas Postdoctoral Fellowship. My research focuses on the effect of ADMA (asymmetric dimethylarginine) on differentiation of embryonic stem cells into vascular progenitor cells and on vascular cell lineage specification. In addition, I am also interested in investigating the regulation of micro-RNA (miRNA) expression by ADMA during the various steps of embryonic stem cell differentiation into vascular cells. I am a member of the International Society of Stem Cell Research and I hope to be a part of the world research community that aims to develop novel cardiovascular technologies that use molecules and cells to treat various heart ailments.

Of course, I am not a boring young scientist. I do have leisure time and I mainly travel and do outdoor activities.





Basic Research



Daniel recently attained his PhD from the faculty of medicine at the University of Sydney, under the supervision of Professor David Celermajer and Dr Martin Ng. Daniel’s PhD was directed towards cell therapies for therapeutic angiogenesis, with a particular focus on endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs). His studies led to the development of a novel assay of angiogenesis, which revealed strikingly different angiogenic properties of putative EPCs. Another key focus of Daniel’s PhD studies was on gender differences in cardiovascular disease. This involved investigation of the effects of male sex hormones, or androgens, on cardiovascular repair mechanisms including angiogenesis. His research highlighted a novel role for androgens in angiogenesis and angiogenic/progenitor cell mobilization, revealing that androgens modulate angiogenesis in males but not females. These findings carry implications for androgen replacement therapies and potential sex-specific treatments for cardiovascular disease.

Daniel joined Dr Cooke’s lab in January this year. One of his key interests is in how inducible pluripotent (iPS) cells may be harnessed in regenerative medicine. Daniel’s current research within the lab is focused on understanding the key factors involved in endothelial cell differentiation, which will be important for optimizing iPS-based therapies for cardiovascular repair/regeneration.





Clinical Research




Dr Yaqubi received his MD at Shaheed Beheshti University of medical sciences in Tehran, Iran. Then he started working as a General Practitioner and Family Physician in some economically underserved areas in Iran. While he was working in those depressed areas, he was involved in some WHO programs for developing countries like ”Integrated Management of Child Illness (IMCI)”. He held awards from ministry of health as an outstanding trainer of IMCI.

In 2007 he started working as a postdoctoral research fellow in Genetics and Genomics department at Boston university school of medicine.  His research focus was on the modulation of gene-environmental interaction through DNA methyation in psychiatric disorders. He worked on the role of epigenetic regulation of Serotonin type-2 promoter in schizophrenia and bipolar disorders. During this time he was involved in a clinical research as well.

Dr. Yaqubi joined the clinical research team in 2010, and currently is involved in the clinical trials in peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and critical limb ischemia (CLI).He works with the clinical team enrolling and screening patients, conducting follow-up by physical activity questionnaires and calling study participants.






Basic Research





I was born in Ulm, Germany, where I attended a Biotechnology high school. I am currently completing my studies in Molecular Biology at the University of Graz, Austria.

I received the Marshallplan fellowship to do research and write my Bachelor thesis in Dr. Cooke´s laboratory. I am excited to have the possibility of working on 3 projects: I am examining the difference between iPSCs derived from patients suffering Peripheral Arterial Disease and age matched control groups and will look at their effectiveness of their differentiation as well as their mitochondrial damage. My second project investigates the role of prostacyclin in hIPSC differentiation into Endothelial Cells and in my third project I am working on the protein based induction of iPSCs. 

Before joining Dr. Cooke´s laboratory I have gained research experience in several laboratories. The American Heart Association and the KUWI fellowship sponsored me to work for two half -year sessions at Dr. Jorge Plutzk´s laboratory at Harvard Medical School examining Monoacylglycerols role in activating PPAR alpha. Furthermore, I received a fellowship to work at Dr. Ouliana Ziouzenkova´s laboratory at Ohio State University to study how RALDH deficiency affects adipose tissue differentation. During the semester I worked in Professor Rudolf Zechner´s laboratory on the molecular relevance of neuropathy target esterase-related esterase in 3T3-L1 cells.

Outside the laboratory I am a snowboard instructor, teaching children and adults in the winter in Austria and Germany. I also love to travel and study new languages and to do all kinds of outdoor activities. 






Vistiting Scholar




I joined the Cooke laboratory as a visiting scholar in April 2010. My research is focused on the therapeutic effects by modulating of DDAH (dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase) activity in hypertension and chronic kidney disease (CKD).

Prior to joining the Cooke lab, I received a Ph.D. from The Graduate School of Engineering, Nagoya University (Japan) by the development of culture method for maintaining the functions of liver cells and the study of the relations between cell-cell interaction and expression of liver function.  After that, I started working for pharmaceutical company and since then I have been studying tissue fibrosis, diabetic nephropathy and hypertension using not only in vitro but also in vivo approaches.  I have also been conducting pharmacological evaluations of various compounds.






Postdoctoral Scholar


I am excited to join the Cooke laboratory as a postdoctoral research fellow funded by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. My research will focus on the role of DDAH (dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase) in embryonic stem cell growth and differentiation into vascular progenitor cells.

Prior to joining the Cooke lab, I obtained a B.Sc. in Biochemistry from the University of Victoria, Canada. Following my undergraduate degree I worked in the research lab of Dr. Chris Upton examining poxviral genomes using a suite of bioinformatical tools and I was involved in research at QLT Inc. examining the effects of photodynamic therapy on vascular cytokine release and proliferation.  I then completed my Ph.D. in Pathology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada under the supervision of Drs. David Granville and Bruce McManus. The main focus of my research was on understanding the role of peri-transplant ischemic injury in the pathogenesis of chronic heart transplant rejection. Specifically, I examined the role of the cytochrome p450 2C enzymes in generation of reactive oxygen species and how subsequent endothelial damage resulted in the development of cardiac allograft vasculopathy.