Cook Lab

Research Questions

  • What is the relationship between exercise and physical activity & brain structure and function? This work spans multiple diseases including Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Alzheimer’s Disease and Gulf War Illness.
  • How does exercise affect central nervous system responses to noxious stimuli?
  • What neurobiological mechanisms are responsible for the antideperessant effect of exercise? How important is exercise intensity to the antidepressant effect?
  • How does habitual physical activity (measured by accelerometry) affect mood and symptoms?
  • How does overtraining college athletes effect their mood and cognitive abilities?


Our laboratory is focused on understanding the psychobiology of exercise and physical activity – determining the relationships between biological systems, physiological responses and behavioral outcomes. Thus, a primary goal of our research is to determine the mechanisms that underlie relationships between exercise and physical activity behaviors and brain health in conditions such as chronic pain & fatigue, depression and aging. Various state-of-art methods are used including structural and functional neuroimaging, gene expression, pain and fatigue psychophysics and metabolic measurement during exercise.