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MySpace: Mark Cook

  • job: Professor of Animal Sciences
  • lab: Tenth floor of the Animal Sciences Building
  • team: Four graduate students, four undergrads and one research specialist
  • current research: How nutrition regulates immune function in poultry

What’s the research question on your mind right now? Why does a chicken grow faster in a germ-free environment?

Is work in the lab 9-to-5 or 24/7? I try to open my door at 8 a.m. and close it by 6 p.m., but I’m all over the place all the time. I do love my early mornings. I would rather rise at 3:30 a.m. than stay until 7 p.m.

What’s the view from the window? The sky. I can’t seem to get close enough to the window to look south.

What’s playing on the lab radio? It changes as the students change. My office rarely has music. I don’t think I could play a full song without interruption.

If you had to evacuate your lab, what would you grab first? I have personal bound notes and calendars with critical intellectual-property information on patented research. That could be the most I can carry out.

Where do you get your best work done? Everywhere. Right now, I’m writing this while sitting in the airport in Atlanta.

Eat out or brown bag? When I worked in the cane fields, the workers teased me because I ate cold lunch. Now it is hot lunch, but almost always leftovers and microwaved. I only eat breakfast on Saturday morning or when I’m trying to impress some new faculty hire or something like that.

Any personal items in the lab? Egg yolk separators from Pampered Chef. They are the best for making our antibodies. We could not figure out how to pay for them using a lab account, so I bought a bunch and gave them to the lab to use.

What’s your desktop picture? On my old computer, I had a picture of the planets. No one put one on my new computer.

What’s your favorite way to recharge the batteries? Give me a new problem and time to think about it. Late Friday afternoons are often the best time—everyone is starting to settle down and there is time to think.

What’s the coolest thing you’ve learned by doing research? How to prevent hairballs in cats.