The Dennis M. Cook Endowed Mendel Chair in Genetics

Cook chair

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 modifications. Specifically, Dr. Wykoff is examining the pathways in yeast cells associated with phosphate metabolism and thiamine synthesis. Phosphate is a required component for all 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 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 over 23 manuscripts in prestigious journals such as Biochemical Journal, Genetics, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. His research has been continuously funded by National Science Foundation since 2008 and has received over $1.6 million in support of his work. In addition to his research, Dr. Wykoff is a dedicated teacher and mentor of undergraduate research students. He regularly teaches genetics to undergraduate Biology and Biochemistry majors, and he is the 2010 recipient of the Junior Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching from Villanova University.

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.