Immunology Leadership

Lora V. Hooper, Ph.D.

Nancy Cain and Jeffrey A. Marcus Scholar in Medical Research, in Honor of Dr. Bill S. Vowell
Jonathan W. Uhr, M.D. Distinguished Chair in Immunology
Director, Walter M. and Helen D. Bader Center for Research on Arthritis and Autoimmune Diseases
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Lora V. Hooper, Ph.D., is a member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and has been a faculty member at UT Southwestern Medical Center since 2003 and an Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute since 2008. She became Chair of the Department of Immunology in 2016.

Dr. Hooper’s lab focuses on the microbiome and its interactions with the immune system. In particular, her group has studied how the intestinal immune system defends against the vast microbial communities that inhabit the mammalian gut. Dr. Hooper’s discoveries have helped explain how a host peacefully coexists with the trillions of beneficial bacteria present in the intestinal tract and may ultimately reveal alterations in these populations that can make it possible for disease-causing bacteria to overtake them.

Dr. Hooper’s work has provided insights into the molecular mechanisms that mediate the interaction between the remarkably dense and complex community of intestinal microbes and the host intestine to maintain health. As a result, it is becoming increasingly clear that the microbiome not only determines the ability of pathogenic microbes to cause infections, but also regulates the susceptibility to many other disorders, such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

Dr. Hooper has been an invited speaker at dozens of meetings and workshops around the world and is the author of over 80 published scientific papers, reviews, and book chapters. She currently serves on the editorial boards of several journals including Science and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In addition to leading the Department of Immunology, Dr. Hooper is also Director of the Walter M. and Helen D. Bader Center for Research on Arthritis and Autoimmune Diseases at UT Southwestern, and directs the Integrative Immunology Training Grant (T32).