University of California, San Diego | Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences


Dr. Vivian Hook


Mailing Address:
9500 Gilman Drive MC0657
La Jolla, CA 92093-0657

Telephone: 858-822-6682
Fax: 858-822-6681


Dr. Vivian Hook is Professor with the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (SSPPS) at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). She holds joint faculty appointments as Professor with the Dept. of Neuroscience, Dept. of Pharmacology, and the Dept. of Medicine at UCSD. These joint appointments among biomedically related departments indicate the nature of the Hook lab research to understand mechanisms in medcine for protease pathways that produce (1) peptide neurotransmitters and hormones and (2) neurotoxic peptides in neurodegenerative diseases. The high quality research is documented by over 130 publications, and numerous awards of research grants from NIH and private foundations.

Dr. Hook received her Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the Univ. of Calif, San Francisco medical school. Her B.S. degree in Biomedical Sciences was received from the Univ. of Calif., Berkeley. After receiving the Ph.D. degree, Dr. Hook conducted postdoctoral research at the National Institutes of Health with Nobel prize winner Dr. Julius Axelrod, for investigation of protease mechanisms utilized for neurotransmitter synthesis. Application of new mechanisms towards drug discovery was a key goal of the neuroscience research, especially in the area of neurodegenerative disease and neurological conditions. After positions as scientist at NIH, and Assis/Assoc. Professor at the Uniformed Services Univ., Bethesda, MD., Dr. Hook joined the UCSD medical school as faculty member. Dr. Hook has received numerous awards in recognition of her creative and novel research, which includes a NIH Career Development Award and a Focused Giving Award from Johnson & Johnson. Her research expertise is recognized with invitations to serve on numerous grant review committees of the NIH and research foundations.

Dr. Hook participates in the Graduate Programs at UCSD in ‘Biomedical Sciences’ and ‘Neurosciences.’ She has been Chair of the Minor Proposition Committee for graduate student training in research proposal strategies. Dr. Hook has also been Director of a NIH training grant ‘Fundamental Neuroscience Related to Drug Action.’ The Hook lab welcomes students, postdoctoral fellows, and collaborating scientists to participate in exciting, cutting-edge research. Lab members collaborate with investigators at UCSD, at the nearby Salk Institute, The Scripps Research Institute, the Scripss Institute of Oceanography, Universities and private institutions in the United States, and with international collaborators around the world.

The research of the Hook laboratory currently addresses key questions of protease pathways and drug targets that modify peptide actions in neurological and neurodegenerative diseases. Multidisciplinary approaches are utilized for integrated research approaches: in peptide/protein biochemistry with proteomics and mass spectrometry, cell biology, molecular biology, neurochemistry, chemical drug molecules, genetics and transgenic systems, bioinformatics, and related disciplines. The new laboratory facilities in the School of Pharmacy at UCSD provide state-of-the-art technology for biomedical research in the Hook lab.

Recent Publications:

Hook, V., Yoon, M., Mosier, C., Ito, G., Podvin, S., Head, B.P., Rissman, R., O'Donoghue, A.J., Hook, G. (2020) Cathepsin B in neurodegeneration of Alzheimer's disease, traumatic brain injury, and related brain disorders. Biochim Biophys Acta Proteins Proteom. 1868, 140428.

Boutté, A.M., Hook, V., Thangavelu, B., Sarkis, G.A., Abbatiello, B.N., Hook, G., Jacobsen, J.S., Robertson, C.S., Gilsdorf, J., Yang, Z., Wang, K.K.W., Shear, D.A. (2020) Penetrating Traumatic Brain Injury Triggers Dysregulation of Cathepsin B Protein Levels Independent of Cysteine Protease Activity in Brain and Cerebral Spinal Fluid. J Neurotrauma 37(13),1574-1586.

Podvin, S., Jones, A., Liu, Q., Aulston, B., Ransom, L., Ames, J., Shen, G., Lietz, C.B., Jiang, Z., O'Donoghue, A.J., Winston, C., Ikezu, T., Rissman, R.A., Yuan, S., Hook, V. (2020) Dysregulation of Exosome Cargo by Mutant Tau Expressed in Human-induced Pluripotent Stem Cell (iPSC) Neurons Revealed by Proteomics Analyses. Mol Cell Proteomics 9, 1017-1034.

Yoon, M.C., Solania, A., Jiang, Z., Christy, M.P., Podvin, S., Mosier, C., Lietz, C.B., Ito, G., Gerwick, W.H., Wolan, D.W., Hook, G., O'Donoghue, A.J., Hook, V. (2021) Selective Neutral pH Inhibitor of Cathepsin B Designed Based on Cleavage Preferences at Cytosolic and Lysosomal pH Conditions. ACS Chem Biol. 16, 1628-1643.

Jiang, Z., Lietz, C.B., Podvin, S., Yoon, M.C., Toneff, T., Hook, V., O'Donoghue, A.J. (2021) Differential Neuropeptidomes of Dense Core Secretory Vesicles (DCSV) Produced at Intravesicular and Extracellular pH Conditions by Proteolytic Processing. ACS Chem Neurosci. 12, 2385-2398.

Campeau, A., Mills, R.H., Stevens, T., Rossitto, L.A., Meehan, M., Dorrestein, P., Daly, R., Nguyen, T.T., Gonzalez, D.J., Jeste, D.V., Hook V. (2021) Multi-omics of Human Plasma Reveals Molecular Features of Dysregulated Inflammation and Accelerated Aging in Schizophrenia. Molecular Psychiatry Nature 2021 Nov 5.

Podvin, S., Jones, A., Liu, Q., Aulston, B., Mosier, C., Ames, J., Winston, C., Lietz, C.B., Jiang, Z., O'Donoghue, A.J., Ikezu, T., Rissman, R.A., Yuan, S.H., Hook, V. (2021) Mutant Presenilin 1 Dysregulates Exosomal Proteome Cargo Produced by Human-Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Neurons. ACS Omega 6(20), 13033-13056.

Boyarko, B., Hook, V. (2021) Human tau isoforms and proteolysis for production of toxic tau fragments in neurodegeneration. Frontiers in Neuroscience 15, 1-19.

Ashhurst, A.S., Tang, A.H., Fajtová, P., Yoon, M.C., Aggarwal, A., Bedding, M.J., Stoye, A., Beretta, L., Pwee, D., Drelich, A., Skinner, D., Li, L., Meek, T.D., McKerrow, J.H., Hook, V., Tseng, C.T., Larance, M., Turville, S., Gerwick, W.H., O'Donoghue, A.J., Payne, R.J. (2021) Potent Anti-SARS-CoV-2 Activity by the Natural Product Gallinamide A and Analogues via Inhibition of Cathepsin L. J Med Chem. 2021 Nov 3