Lora Hooper is a Professor in the Department of Immunology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, where she holds the Jonathan Uhr Endowed Chair in Immunology. She is also an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She joined the UT Southwestern faculty in 2003 after completing a post-doctoral fellowship at Washington University and became Chair of the Immunology Department in 2016. During her postdoctoral training she became interested in interactions between intestinal bacteria and host cells in the mammalian gut. Her research team at UT Southwestern studies how the intestinal microbiota shapes various aspects of mammalian host physiology. The approaches used in her lab range from biochemical and structural approaches for understanding the molecular basis for intestinal immune responses, to mouse genetic approaches for identifying immune pathways that are important for maintaining host-microbial homeostasis. These studies are aimed at gaining a basic mechanistic understanding of how the immune system deals with symbiotic intestinal bacteria. More recently, her group has been exploring how the microbiota regulates metabolism and body composition. Her work is funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the National Institutes of Health, and the Welch Foundation. She was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2015.
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center