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Nicole Noren Hooten
Title: Senior Associate Scientist
Office(s): DNA Repair Unit
Phone Number: 410-454-8558
Email Address:


Dr. Nicole (Nikki) Noren Hooten graduated magna cum laude from East Carolina University.  She earned her PhD under Dr. Keith Burridge in the Cell and Developmental Biology Department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. During her graduate work she studied how cell adhesion receptors signal to the actin cytoskeleton. After graduation, she worked on receptor tyrosine kinase signaling in breast cancer cells in Dr. Elena Pasquale’s laboratory at what is now called the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in La Jolla, CA.  She joined the National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health as a Staff Scientist in Dr. Evans' laboratory in 2008. Throughout her career she has won several awards including the Burnham Institute’s Fishman Award for Career Development and the NIA Women in Science Excellence in Scientific Research Award.

Research Interests/Portfolio

Currently, in the Laboratory of Epidemiology and Population Science, Nikki uses an integrated, interdisciplinary approach to study how oxidative stress, post-transcriptional mechanisms and other pathways contribute to health disparities, aging and age-related diseases.  Recently, she has been interested in utilizing extracellular vesicles as non-invasive biomarkers of aging and age-related diseases and further understanding how various age-related diseases alter extracellular vesicles cargo and function. She poses these questions in the context of human aging through her work with the Healthy Aging in Neighborhoods of Diversity Across the Life Span (HANDLS; study. HANDLS is a longitudinal, interdisciplinary, epidemiologic study that aims to investigate whether race and socioeconomic status influence health status and age-related health disparities. Click here for a full list of Dr. Noren Hooten’s publications.

Selected publications

Byappanahalli AM*, Noren Hooten N*, Vannoy M, Mode NA, Ezike N, Zonderman AB, Evans MK. Mitochondrial DNA and inflammatory proteins are higher in extracellular vesicles from frail individuals. Immun Ageing. 2023 Jan 30;20(1):6. doi: 10.1186/s12979-023-00330-2. PubMed PMID: 36710345; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC9885591. *contributed equally

Beydoun MA*, Noren Hooten N*, Weiss J, Beydoun HA, Georgescu M, Freeman DW, Evans MK, Zonderman AB. GDF15 and its association with cognitive performance over time in a longitudinal study of middle-aged urban adults. Brain Behav Immun. 2023 Feb;108:340-349. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2022.12.015. Epub 2022 Dec 19. PubMed PMID: 36549580; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC10026559 *contributed equally

Shen B, Mode NA, Noren Hooten N, Pacheco NL, Ezike N, Zonderman AB, Evans MK. Association of Race and Poverty Status With DNA Methylation-Based Age. JAMA Netw Open. 2023 Apr 3;6(4):e236340. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.6340. PubMed PMID: 37027157; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC10082406

Noren Hooten N*, Torres S*, Mode NA, Zonderman AB, Ghosh P, Ezike N, Evans MK. Association of extracellular vesicle inflammatory proteins and mortality. Sci Rep. 2022 Aug 18;12(1):14049. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-17944-z. PubMed PMID: 35982068 *contributed equally

Lazo S*, Noren Hooten N*, Green J, Eitan E, Mode NA, Liu QR, Zonderman AB, Ezike N, Mattson MP, Ghosh P, Evans MK. Mitochondrial DNA in extracellular vesicles declines with age. Aging Cell. 2021 Jan;20(1):e13283. doi: 10.1111/acel.13283. Epub 2020 Dec 23. PubMed PMID: 33355987; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC7811845. *contributed equally

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