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Project 4:

Maternal diet, offspring epigenetics, and longevity




Craig A. Cooney, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology


Research interests:


We study the role of DNA methylation and epigenetics on the health, cancer development and lifespan of mammals.  Epigenetics can be changed by drugs and by specific nutrients found in foods and nutritional supplements.  Epigenetics strongly affect normal cell differentiation and cancer development.  Our interests include childhood and adult cancers that help us understand epigenetic changes that occur with and without an aging component.  Cancer studies address how specific genes are modified compared to normal tissues with the aim of using this knowledge to improve the prevention, treatment and diagnosis of cancer.  We study effects on adult animals as well as effects on offspring when their mothers take specific supplements during pregnancy. 

We also study certain molecular effects of nutrients including effects on DNA methylation, gene expression and metabolite levels.  DNA methylation is essential for the organization, maintenance and control of chromosomes and the genome.  We are particularly interested in treatments and genes that will help maintain or optimize DNA methylation to maximize longevity and prevent age-related disease.





Provide the following information for the key personnel and other significant contributors in the order listed on Form Page 2.
Follow this format for each person.  DO NOT EXCEED FOUR PAGES.



Craig A. Cooney, Ph.D.


Asst. Professor




EDUCATION/TRAINING  (Begin with baccalaureate or other initial professional education, such as nursing, and include postdoctoral training.)



(if applicable)



California State University, Hayward CA

B.S. high honors



Portsmouth Polytechnic, U.K.




University of California, Davis CA












NOTE: The Biographical Sketch may not exceed four pages. Items A and B (together) may not exceed two of the four-page limit.  Follow the formats and instructions on the attached sample.


A.    Positions and Honors. List in chronological order previous positions, concluding with your present position. List any honors. Include present membership on any Federal Government public advisory committee.

1978                   Outstanding Chemistry Senior, California State University at Hayward, California

1978-1982          NIH Molecular & Cellular Biology Predoctoral Training Grant Recipient

1979-1980          Graduate research: Biophysics Labs, Portsmouth Polytechnic, Portsmouth, UK

1980-1984          Graduate research: University of California, Davis, California

1984-1990          Postdoctoral research: University of California, Davis, California

1990-1995          Research Fellow: Beckman Research Institute, City of Hope, Duarte, California

1995-1996          ORISE Res. Sci., Nutritional Toxicology, Natl. Cntr. Toxicol. Res., Jefferson, AR

1996-1998          ORISE Res. Sci., Molecular Epidemiology, Natl. Cntr. Toxicol. Res., Jefferson, AR

1998-2003         Res. Assist. Prof., Biochem. & Molec. Biol., Univ. Ark. Med. Sci., Little Rock, AR

1999-presentScientific Advisory Board, Life Extension Foundation

2001-presentCo-chair Nutritional Epidemiology & Translational Res. Task Force, Childrens Oncology Group

2003-presentUAMS Arkansas Cancer Research Center faculty member

2004                   NIH/NICHD Sponsored Participant: Improving Maternal Nutrition to Optimize Pregnancy Outcome: Development of a Research Plan Nov 8-9, Bethesda, Maryland

2003-presentAssistant Professor, Dept. Biochem. & Molec. Biol., Univ. Ark. Med. Sci., Little Rock, AR


B.    Selected peer-reviewed publications (in chronological order). Do not include publications submitted or in preparation.


Cooney CA, Matthews HR, Bradbury EM (1984) 5-Methyldeoxycytidine in the Physarum Minichromosome Containing the Ribosomal RNA Genes.  Nucleic Acids Research 12, 1501-1515

Cooney CA, Matthews HR (1984)  Isolation of Satellite DNA by Density Gradient Centrifugation.  in Methods in Molecular Biology: Nucleic Acids (Walker, J. ed.) Volume 2, pp21-29, Humana Press, Clifton, NJ

Cooney CA, Eykholt RL, Bradbury EM (1988) Methylation is Co-ordinated on the Putative Replication Origins of Physarum Ribosomal DNA.  Journal of Molecular Biology 204, 889-901

Cooney CA, Galbraith JL, Bradbury EM (1989) A Regularly Spaced DNA Size Standard with 10 kbp Resolution for Pulsed Field Gel Electrophoresis.  Nucleic Acids Research 17, 5412

Cooney CA, Bradbury EM (1990) DNA Methylation and Chromosome Organization in Eukaryotes. in The Eukaryotic Nucleus: Molecular Biochemistry and Macromolecular Assemblies (Strauss, P. and Wilson, S. eds.) Volume 2, pp813-843, Telford Press, Caldwell, NJ

Cooney CA (1990) The Restriction Enzyme Ehe I (GGC/GCC) is Sensitive to CpG Methylation.  Nucleic Acids Research 18, 3667

Schroth GP, Siino JS, Cooney CA, Th'ng JP, Ho PS, Bradbury EM (1992) Intrinsically Bent DNA Flanks Both Sides of an RNA Polymerase I Transcription Start Site. Both Regions Display Novel Electrophoretic Mobility.  Journal of Biological Chemistry 267, 9958-9964

Cooney CA (1992) Separation and Size Determination of DNA over a 10-200kbp Range.  in Methods in Molecular Biology: Pulsed Field Gel Electrophoresis (Burmeister, M. and Ulanovsky, L. eds.) Volume 12, pp31-37, Humana Press, Totowa, NJ

Cooney CA (1993) Are Somatic Cells Inherently Deficient in Methylation Metabolism?  A Proposed Mechanism for DNA Methylation Loss, Senescence and Aging.  Growth, Development & Aging 57, 261-273

Cooney CA (1994) Techniques and High Resolution DNA Size Markers for Pulsed Field Gel Electrophoresis.  Molecular Biotechnology 2, 119-127

Cooney CA, Wise CW, Poirier LA (1997) An Improved Sample Preparation Method for the Quantitative HPLC Determination of 5-Methyldeoxycytidine in Animal Tissue DNA.  Journal of Liquid Chromatography 20, 1279-1293

Wise CW, Cooney CA, Ali SF, Poirier LA (1997) Measuring S-Adenosylmethionine in Whole Blood, Red Blood Cells and Cultured Cells using a Fast Preparation Method and High Performance Liquid Chromatography.  Journal of Chromatography B, 696, 145-152

Southern F, Cruz N, Fink LN, Cooney CA, Barone GW, Eidt JF, Moursi MM (1998) Hyperhomocysteinemia Increases Intimal Hyperplasia in a Rat Carotid Endarterectomy Model.  Journal of Vascular Surgery, 28, 909-918

Cooney CA, Wise, CW, Poirier LA, Ali SF (1998) Methamphetamine Treatment Affects Blood and Liver S-Adenosylmethionine (SAM) in Mice: Correlation with Dopamine Depletion in the Striatum.  Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 844, 191-200

Wolff GL, Kodell RL, Moore SR, Cooney CA (1998) Maternal Epigenetics and Methyl Supplements Affect Agouti Gene Expression in Avy/a Mice.  FASEB Journal, 12, 949-957

Cooney CA (2001) Dietary Selenium and Arsenic Affect DNA Methylation.  Journal of Nutrition 131, 1871

Cooney CA, Dave AA, Wolff GL (2002) Maternal Methyl Supplements in Mice Affect Epigenetic Variation and DNA Methylation of Offspring.  Journal of Nutrition 132, 2393S-2400S

Kaput J, Klein KG, Reyes EJ, Kibbe WA, Cooney CA, Jovanovic B, Visek WJ, Wolff GL (2004) Identification of Genes Contributing to the Obese Yellow Avy Phenotype: Caloric Restriction, Genotype, Diet x Genotype Interactions.  Physiological Genomics, 18, 316-324.

Kurmasheva RT, Peterson CA, Parham DM, Chen B, McDonald RE, Cooney CA (2005) Upstream CpG Island Methylation of the PAX3 Gene in Human Rhabdomyosarcomas.  Pediatric Blood and Cancer 44, 328-337.

Khaidakov M, Chavannes Turesky N, Cooney CA, Dupont-Versteegden EE, Kennedy R, Siegel ER, Shmookler-Reis RJ (2005) Contribution of de novo Point Mutations to the Overall Mutational Burden in Mitochondrial DNA of Adult Rats.  Experimental Gerontology 40, 396-402.

Safar MA, Spencer H, Su X, Coffey M, Cooney CA, Ratnasinghe LD, Hutchins LF, Fan C-Y (2005) Methylation Profiling of Archived Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: A Promising Prognostic System. Clinical Cancer Research 11, 4400-4405.

Cooney CA  Maternal Nutrition: Nutrients and Control of Expression. in Nutrigenomics: Concepts and Technologies. James Kaput and Raymond L. Rodriguez, editors. John Wiley and Sons, Hoboken, New Jersey in press



US Patent No. 6,541,680 B1 Apr. 1, 2003 Cooney, Craig A. and Wolff, George L. "Nutritional Methyl Supplements Change DNA Methylation and Related Characteristics of Mammalian Offspring"