Huntsville, Ala. | September 1, 2021 – HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology is investing in its neurogenomics research through the addition of faculty investigator Nick Cochran, PhD. If his name sounds familiar, that is because Cochran was most recently a senior postdoctoral scientist in the lab of HudsonAlpha President, Science Director, and M. A. Loya Chair in Genomics Rick Myers, PhD.
Cochran began at HudsonAlpha in 2015 as a postdoctoral fellow in the Myers lab. During his time at HudsonAlpha, Cochran has been a valuable contributor to the growth of the neurodegenerative disease research program. He led several projects that identified new gene candidates and risk variants in relevant genes involved in Alzheimer disease.
He also helped foster collaborations with international groups like the Research Dementia Latin America (ReDLat) consortium that aims to identify the unique genetic and socioeconomic/social determinants of health that drive Alzheimer disease and other dementias in Latin America.
“Nick has been an invaluable member of my lab and made many important contributions to the field of neurodegenerative disease,” says Myers. “His addition as a faculty member will help further solidify HudsonAlpha’s role as a leader in the neurogenomics field.”
Cochran’s lab will further his studies into the genetic basis of neurodegenerative disease, with an initial emphasis on Alzheimer disease and related dementias.
“My lab will focus on using genomic approaches to better understand neurodegenerative diseases, which we hope will lead to new approaches in diagnosis and treatment,” says Cochran. “I came to HudsonAlpha six years ago as a postdoc because I wanted to immerse myself in the world of genomics. I am excited to further my career as a faculty member here and continue to make discoveries with an end goal to improve the lives of those affected by neurodegenerative diseases.”
In 2020, Cochran was awarded a National Institutes of Health (NIH) K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award from the National Institute on Aging, which funds research on Alzheimer disease and related dementias. The NIH Pathway to Independence Awards help outstanding postdoctoral researchers transition from mentored, postdoctoral research positions to independent faculty positions. During the first year of the award, Cochran completed training under the mentorship of Myers and HudsonAlpha Faculty Investigator Greg Cooper, PhD, in functional genomics, advanced statistics, and advanced data science.
Cochran was recently awarded the R00 portion of the grant, which will provide him with protected time to further his studies into the genetic basis of neurodegenerative disease. The grant, which provides Cochran $725,000 over 3-years, will help him establish his lab, along with support from the HudsonAlpha Foundation Memory and Mobility Program.
Cochran earned his PhD from the University of Alabama in Birmingham.
About HudsonAlpha: HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology is a nonprofit institute dedicated to developing and applying scientific advances to health, agriculture, learning, and commercialization. Opened in 2008, HudsonAlpha’s vision is to leverage the synergy between discovery, education, medicine, and economic development in genomic sciences to improve the human condition around the globe. The HudsonAlpha biotechnology campus consists of 152 acres nestled within Cummings Research Park, the nation’s second largest research park. The state-of-the-art facilities co-locate nonprofit scientific researchers with entrepreneurs and educators. HudsonAlpha has become a national and international leader in genetics and genomics research and biotech education and fosters more than 45 diverse biotech companies on campus. To learn more about HudsonAlpha, visit hudsonalpha.org.