A New Leader
During his 25 years as chair of the Department of Neurosciences at UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School (NJMS), Cook developed a top-quality multiple sclerosis research and treatment center. His department includes neuroscience researchers and clinicians with expertise in muscular dystrophy, chronic fatigue syndrome, spina bifida, epilepsy, and stroke therapy and prevention.
Teaching medical students and residents, winning major research grants, publishing extensively in the medical literature, running a large academic department and taking care of patients have all been among Cook's priorities. He also served as acting dean of the medical school from July 1987 to December 1989.
His own research has focused on multiple sclerosis and Guillain Barré syndrome. For the past several years, he has been looking at viral agents - particularly canine distemper virus - that may be responsible for triggering immune system attacks that result in destruction of the myelin sheath insulating the nerve cells of the central nervous system.
Cook's clinical research team was the first to show that high doses of steroids can alleviate symptoms early in MS and that lymph node irradiation can slow down deterioration in patients with progressive forms of the disease.
The acting president has a strong commitment to cutting-edge research and feels that UMDNJ is poised to rise into the upper echelons of American universities. "I want everyone to feel great pride in being part of UMDNJ,"he says.
He was recently appointed co-chairman of the New Jersey Neurological Institute of UMDNJ and medical director of the Multiple Sclerosis Network of New Jersey.
Cook received his undergraduate degree from Brandeis University in 1957 and a master's of science in neuroanatomy from the University of Vermont in 1959. He earned his medical degree cum laude from the school in 1962. He did his internship at SUNY Health Sciences Center in Syracuse, NY, and his residency at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.
Cook has three grown sons, one of them a 1991 graduate of NJMS, who currently practices internal medicine in Bangor, Maine. His wife, Josie, is a librarian at Drew University.
Fall 1998 Table of Contents