Steve Cole is a Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Science in the UCLA School of Medicine. His research maps the molecular pathways by which social and environmental factors influence the activity of human, viral, and tumor genomes. He uses computational models of gene regulation to integrate results from epidemiology, clinical research, and laboratory experimental studies of neural influences in gene expression and disease processes. Cole's research has pioneered the use of functional genomics approaches in social and behavioral research, and has mapped the signal transduction pathways by which social factors enhance replication of HIV-1 and HHV-8 viruses, alter expression of immune response genes such as IL6 and IFNB, and up-regulate expression of pro-metastatic genes by human breast and ovarian cancer cells. Much of his work focuses on defining the specific transcription factors that come to represent psychological and social states in the context of gene regulation, and the genetic polymorphisms that modify individual sensitivity social-environmental regulation of gene expression.
Cole received his Ph.D. in Psychology from Stanford University in 1993, and subsequently completed 5 years of post-doctoral fellowship research in psycho-neuro-immunology at the University of California Los Angeles.