Dennis Wykoff, PhD

Dennis Wykoff, PhD

Dennis Wykoff, PhD, professor of Biology, is the first recipient of the Dennis M. Cook ’90 Endowed Gregor Mendel Chair in Genetics. Dr. Wykoff received his BS degree in Biochemistry from the University of California, Davis, and his PhD in Biological Sciences from Stanford University. After completing postdoctoral fellowships at the University of California, San Francisco, and Harvard University, Dr. Wykoff joined the Villanova faculty in 2006. Dr. Wykoff’s research focuses on understanding how cells adapt to environmental changes.

Currently, Dr. Wykoff is examining signaling pathways in yeast cells associated with phosphate and thiamine starvation. Phosphate is a required component for cells and understanding how yeast cells respond to phosphate stress improves our understanding of how all mammalian cells deal with environmental stress. Thiamine is a vitamin required for normal metabolic activity in all cells and understanding the factors that affect thiamine biosynthesis has implications for human health. Dr. Wykoff’s approaches are examining fundamental processes in biology; however, some of the work may lead to the development of antifungal drugs.

Dr. Wykoff has published more than 29 manuscripts in prestigious journals such as Biochemical Journal, Genetics, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In addition to his research, Dr. Wykoff is a dedicated teacher and mentor of undergraduate research students, and regularly teaches genetics to undergraduate Biology and Biochemistry majors. He was also the 2010 recipient of the Junior Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching from Villanova University, and a 2016 Finalist for the Villanova Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Teaching award.

Dr. Wykoff’s research has been continuously funded by the National Science Foundation since 2008 and has he received over $2.3 million in support of his work.

About the Dennis M. Cook Endowed Mendel Chair in Genetics

The Dennis M. Cook ’90 Endowed Gregor Mendel Chair in Genetics in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences was established in 2013. Honoring the University’s connection to the 19th century Augustinian friar and scientist Gregor Mendel, the Chair will enhance the research and teaching environment of the University by conducting a research program in genetics.

The Dennis M. Cook ’90 Endowed Gregor Mendel Chair in Genetics will be actively involved in service to the College, University and the scientific community. It will maintain a productive, externally funded research program and work to enhance the national reputation of Villanova.

The Chair position honors Dennis M. Cook, a 1990 graduate of Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, who tragically lost his life in the 9/11/01 attack on the World Trade Center.