On July 1, 2014, Lynn Cooley became dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
Cooley is the C. N. H. Long Professor of Genetics and Professor of Cell Biology and Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology. In addition to research and teaching, Professor Cooley has directed Yale’s Combined Program in Biological & Biomedical Sciences (BBS) for many years. She has served as president of the North American Drosophila Board of Directors and is now on the board of directors for the Genetics Society of America. Her honors include a Pew Scholar Award in the Biomedical Sciences and membership in the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering. Professor Cooley is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Lynn Cooley grew up in Connecticut and attended Connecticut College, graduating in 1976 with a degree in Zoology. She went to graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin, but found her way to the lab of Dieter Söll at Yale University to carry out her dissertation research on tRNA transcription and processing. She received a Ph.D. in Chemistry from UT Austin in 1984 for her research at Yale. Professor Cooley did her postdoctoral training at the Carnegie Institution of Science Department of Embryology in Baltimore, Maryland.
As a postdoc, Professor Cooley developed the first large-scale mutagenesis screen in Drosophila using single P elements as the mutagen. The approach greatly accelerated cloning of affected genes using the P element as a molecular tag. She started her own research program at the Yale University School of Medicine in 1989 with molecular analysis of two mutations affecting egg growth during oogenesis. This led to significant new insight into the regulation of the actin cytoskeleton in vivo.
Currently Professor Cooley’s research is focused on intercellular bridges called ring canals that connect cells of the germline lineage as they form gametes. Similar ring canals are present in germline cells throughout the animal kingdom, and the Drosophila system provides an excellent model for investigating ring canal formation and function. She is also investigating the role if ring canals connecting somatic cells in several Drosophila tissues. Additional research in Professor Cooley's lab is directed toward understanding how environmental cues modulate the rate of oogenesis.