Megan A. Cooper, M.D., Ph.D.

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Professor of Pediatrics, Rheumatology and Immunology
Rheumatology and Immunology

phone: (314) 454-6124

Research Interests

The laboratory is focused on mechanisms of immune cell control, including regulation of natural killer cell activation and molecular mechanisms driving pediatric immune-mediated disease.

Natural killer (NK) cells are innate immune lymphocytes that produce cytokines and can kill target cells. They are important for the early control of viral infection and also play a role in tumor immunosurveillance. Current work in the laboratory is focused on understanding how metabolic pathways regulate NK cell functional responses. The second focus of our laboratory is on the origins of pediatric immune dysregulation. We use genomic sequencing to identify genetic causes of pediatric disease and work to better understand these diseases using in vitro and in vivo models.

Dr. Cooper is the Director of the Clinical Immunology program and the Jeffrey Modell Diagnostic and Research Center for Primary Immunodeficiencies at St. Louis Children's Hospital.

Work in our laboratory is supported by the National Institutes of Health, The Children's Discovery Institute, the Jeffrey Modell Foundation, the Immune Deficiency Foundation, the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, and the St. Louis Children’s Hospital Foundation.

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  • BA, The College of Wooster1995
  • PhD, The Ohio State University2002
  • MD, Cum Laude, AOA, MD/PhD Fellow, The Ohio State University2004


  • Resident in Pediatrics, St. Louis Children's Hospital, Washington University2004 - 2006
  • Fellowship in Pediatric Rheumatology, Washington University2006 - 2010

Licensure and Board Certification

  • 2007 - PresAmerican Board of Pediatrics, General Pediatrics
  • 2010 - PresMO, Missouri State Medical License
  • 2011 - PresAmerican Board of Pediatrics - Pediatric Rheumatology

Honors and Awards

  • National Merit Finalist1991
  • Lewis LaShell Chemistry Scholarship, The College of Wooster1994
  • National Science Foundation Research Undergraduate Fellowship1994
  • Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society1995
  • Bertha Bouroncle Internal Medicine Research Fellowship1998 - 1999
  • 1st Place, Oral Presentation, Landacre Day Medical Student Research Forum1999
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Medical Student Research Fellow1999 - 2000
  • American Society of Hematology (ASH) Medical Student Award2001
  • Carroll L. Birch Award, for the best original research paper by a student member of the American Medical Women's Association (AMWA)2001
  • Roche Molecular Biochemicals Distinguished Graduate Seminar Award2001
  • Phi Kappa Phi National Graduate Honor Society2002
  • Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) Honor Medical Society2003
  • Grant Morrow III, MD, Award for Excellence in Pediatrics, The Ohio State University2004
  • Internal Medicine Research Award, The Ohio State University2004
  • Medical Scientist Award, The Ohio State University College of Medicine2004
  • Watman Achievement Award, Alpha Omega Alpha Society, The Ohio State University2004
  • David Gilstrap Award, Washington University School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics2007
  • Pediatric NIH Loan Repayment Grant (LRP), NIH/NIAID2007 - 2013
  • Scholar of the NIH Child Health Research Center, Washington University Department of Pediatrics2009 - 2013
  • Best Original Basic Science Abstract, Washington University Department of Pediatrics Research Retreat2010
  • Children's Discovery Institute and St. Louis Children's Hospital Faculty Recruit Award2010 - 2015
  • Children’s Discovery Institute of Washington University and St. Louis Children’s Hospital Interdisciplinary Research Award2012 - 2015
  • The American Association of Immunologists (AAI) Early Career Faculty Travel Grant2014
  • “Lecturer of the Month”, St. Louis Children’s Hospital Residency Program, March 20162016
  • Moderator, "Advances in clinical care through whole exome sequencing", American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Annual Meeting, November 15, 2016.2016
  • Moderator, "Immunogenetic Basic Science Symposium", American Society for Histocompatibility & Immunogenetics (ASHI), September 26, 2016.2016
  • Moderator, Guided Poster Tour, 2017 Clinical Immunology Society Meeting, March 25, 2017.2017
  • Elected Member, Society for Pediatric Research (SPR)2017 - Pres
  • Emil Unanue Prize for Innovative Research in Immunology2019
  • Fellow of the Clinical Immunology Society (FCIS), Inaugural class2021
  • Elected member Henry Kunkel Society (HKS)2022

Selected Publications view all (59)

Immunodeficiency and bone marrow failure with mosaic and germline TLR8 gain of function. Blood. 2021;137(18):2450-2462. PMCID:PMC8109013  PMID:33512449 
Recovery from COVID-19 in a Child with Chronic Granulomatous Disease and T Cell Lymphopenia. J Clin Immunol. 2021;41(1):23-25. PMCID:PMC7588587  PMID:33108551 
Multiplexed Functional Assessment of Genetic Variants in CARD11. Am J Hum Genet. 2020;107(6):1029-1043. PMCID:PMC7820631  PMID:33202260 
Siblings with a novel MED12 variant and Odho syndrome with immune defects. Clin Genet. 2020;98(3):308-310. PMID:32715471 
Stage-Specific Requirement for Eomes in Mature NK Cell Homeostasis and Cytotoxicity. Cell Rep. 2020;31(9):107720. PMCID:PMC7265846  PMID:32492428 
Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation in Patients With Primary Immune Regulatory Disorders (PIRD): A Primary Immune Deficiency Treatment Consortium (PIDTC) Survey. Front Immunol. 2020;11:239. PMCID:PMC7046837  PMID:32153572 
Heterozygous FOXN1 Variants Cause Low TRECs and Severe T Cell Lymphopenia, Revealing a Crucial Role of FOXN1 in Supporting Early Thymopoiesis. Am J Hum Genet. 2019;105(3):549-561. PMCID:PMC6731368  PMID:31447097 
Jakinibs for the treatment of immune dysregulation in patients with gain-of-function signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 (STAT1) or STAT3 mutations. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2018;142(5):1665-1669. PMCID:PMC6322659  PMID:30092289 
Comment on: Evidence of innate lymphoid cell redundancy in humans. Nat Immunol. 2018;19(8):788-789. PMCID:PMC6736524  PMID:30026477 
Glycolytic requirement for NK cell cytotoxicity and cytomegalovirus control. JCI Insight. 2017;2(23). PMCID:PMC5752285  PMID:29212951 
Low IgE Is Insufficiently Sensitive to Guide Genetic Testing of STAT3 Gain-of-Function Mutations. Clin Chem. 2017;63(9):1539-1540. PMID:28667185 
Azathioprine-Associated Complete NK Cell Deficiency. J Clin Immunol. 2017;37(6):514-516. PMID:28639167 
Germline hypomorphic CARD11 mutations in severe atopic disease. Nat Genet. 2017;49(8):1192-1201. PMCID:PMC5664152  PMID:28628108 
Mutations in sphingosine-1-phosphate lyase cause nephrosis with ichthyosis and adrenal insufficiency. J Clin Invest. 2017;127(3):912-928. PMCID:PMC5330730  PMID:28165339 
Cytokine-induced memory-like natural killer cells exhibit enhanced responses against myeloid leukemia. Sci Transl Med. 2016;8(357):357ra123. PMCID:PMC5436500  PMID:27655849 
Activation-specific metabolic requirements for NK Cell IFN-γ production. J Immunol. 2015;194(4):1954-62. PMCID:PMC4323953  PMID:25595780 
Early-onset lymphoproliferation and autoimmunity caused by germline STAT3 gain-of-function mutations. Blood. 2015;125(4):591-9. PMCID:PMC4304103  PMID:25359994 
Elevated double negative T cells in pediatric autoimmunity. J Clin Immunol. 2014;34(5):594-9. doi:10.1007/s10875-014-0038-z  PMCID:PMC4047151  PMID:24760111 
Hypogammaglobulinemia in pediatric systemic lupus erythematosus. Lupus. 2013;22(13):1382-7. PMCID:PMC3840537  PMID:24106215 
Murine NK cell intrinsic cytokine-induced memory-like responses are maintained following homeostatic proliferation. J Immunol. 2013;190(9):4754-62. doi:10.4049/jimmunol.1201742  PMCID:PMC3633638  PMID:23530145 
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