New Investigator: Leah Cook, PhD

February 17, 2021

Image with caption: Leah Cook, PhD

Leah Cook, PhD

This profile is part of a series to highlight the researchers who will be honored at a ceremony for UNMC's 2020 Scientist Laureate, Distinguished Scientist and New Investigator Award recipients.

  • Name: Leah Cook, PhD
  • Title: Assistant professor, UNMC Department of Pathology and Microbiology, College of Medicine
  • Joined UNMC: September 2017
  • Hometown: Birmingham, Alabama

New Investigator Award

New Investigator Awards go to outstanding UNMC scientists who in the past two years have secured their first funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense or other national sources. New investigators also had to demonstrate scholarly activity such as publishing their research and/or presenting their findings at national conventions.

Research focus:

  • Cancer
  • Metastasis
  • Immunology

The goal of my research is: to identify novel immunotherapeutic approaches for treating metastatic cancer, specifically bone metastatic prostate cancer and pancreatic cancer, for improving patient survival.

My research will make a difference because: Metastasis is the deadliest aspect of cancer and therapeutic options remain dismal. In secondary tissue sites, metastatic cancer cells hijack the normal cellular processes, through several mechanisms, which results in tumor progression and inhibition of anti-tumoral immune responses. My research will identify ways to circumvent cancer immune evasion and to activate anti-tumoral immune responses to metastatic disease.

The best advice I've ever been given is:

Let the science lead you and define your next questions. Remember the purpose behind your work every single day.

Three things you may not know about me are:

  • I'm obsessed with all things zombie-related, including movies and TV shows.
  • My favorite hobbies are kayaking and writing fiction.
  • I'm a huge college football fan and enjoy watching and attending games.

Nancy Tahmo
February 20, 2021 at 1:38 AM

Congratulations, Dr. Cook!

Andy Lim
February 19, 2021 at 11:58 AM

Congrats, Dr. Cook!

Scott Campbell
February 19, 2021 at 9:26 AM

Well done, Leah!

Tammy Webster
February 17, 2021 at 8:11 PM

This is wonderful Dr. Cook! Congratulations!

Angela D Hayes
February 17, 2021 at 2:48 PM

Congratulations! Dr. Cook

Jeri T. Teague
February 17, 2021 at 1:29 PM

Congratulation, we are proud and excited for you and your accomplishments. Jeri

Diane Costanzo-Garvey
February 17, 2021 at 1:22 PM

Awesome! Well deserved!

Dr. Sheritta Strong
February 17, 2021 at 12:49 PM

Congratulations, Dr. Cook! You're a rock star!

Weiwei Zhang
February 17, 2021 at 10:32 AM


Amanda Stastny
February 17, 2021 at 10:28 AM

Congratulations Dr. Cook!!

Dipakkumar Prajapati
February 17, 2021 at 9:25 AM

Many congratulations Dr.Cook!

Vivian Capurro
February 17, 2021 at 9:19 AM

Congratulations Leah!

Lynette Smith
February 17, 2021 at 8:52 AM

Congrats Leah!

Scott Koepsell
February 17, 2021 at 8:19 AM


Adam Karpf
February 17, 2021 at 7:24 AM

Congratulations Leah!