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Philip Arthur Cole, M.D., Ph.D.

Photo of Dr. Philip Arthur Cole, M.D., Ph.D.

Director, Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences

Professor of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences

Research Interests: Small-molecule and biological regulatory mechanisms

Contact for Research Inquiries

Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Hunterian Building
725 N. Wolfe St
Baltimore, MD 21205 map
Phone: 410-614-8849
Fax: 410-955-3023

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Dr. Philip A. Cole is the director and E.K. Marshall and Thomas H. Maren Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Dr. Cole’s research applies chemical and biochemical approaches to the study of cell-signal transduction, gene regulation, metabolism and endocrine pathways. His work is generally focused on better understanding the formation and function of post-translational modifications in proteins.

His many roles at Johns Hopkins include serving on the faculty of the Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences’ Center for Epigenetics and the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Chemical Therapeutics Program.

He also serves as co-director of the FAMRI (Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute) Center of Excellence.

Dr. Cole’s teaching and mentoring responsibilities include leading the cancer component of the School of Medicine’s “Genes to Society” Translational Science Intersessions for third-year medical students.

A Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Dr. Cole is board certified in internal medicine. He joined the Hopkins faculty in 1999.

Dr. Cole earned his medical degree and his Ph.D. in bioorganic chemistry from Johns Hopkins. He completed a medical residency and a clinical endocrinology fellowship at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

He also holds a B.S. from Yale University and a Certificate of Postgraduate Study (C.P.G.S.) from the U.K.’s University of Cambridge—both in chemistry. more


  • Director, Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences
  • E.K. Marshall and Thomas H. Maren Professor of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences
  • Co-Director, FAMRI (Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute) Center of Excellence at Johns Hopkins
  • Professor of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences
  • Professor of Oncology

Centers & Institutes



  • M.D., Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (Maryland) (1991)
  • Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (Maryland) (1991)

Additional Training

  • Chemistry, University of Cambridge (Cambridgeshire, England) (1985)
  • B.S., Yale University, New Haven, CT, 1984, Chemistry
  • Residency, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, 1993, Medicine
  • Fellowship, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, 1996, Endocrinology

Research & Publications

Research Summary

The Cole Lab uses chemical and biochemical approaches in the study of signal transduction, gene regulation and metabolism.

Dr. Cole and his team investigate the chemical biology of protein post-translational modification and regulation. They also study the structure, function and regulation of protein kinases and protein phosphatases by phosphorylation, acetylation and glycosylation.

Researchers have developed a series of technologies— including expressed protein ligation, chemical rescue of mutant enzymes and bisubstrate analog inhibitors—that we use to analyze signaling proteins that help clarify substrate selectivity, activation state and function.

The Cole Lab also studies histone acetyltransferases and demethylases—and how they contribute to the regulation of gene expression and signaling. The group has designed a series of selective inhibitors of these enzymes as tools for pharmacologic research.

Dr. Cole’s team employs and develops novel protein chemistry and proteomics methods—including mass spectrometry—to analyze the function of signaling enzymes on a broad scale.

Investigators also are using chemical biology strategies to examine the mechanism and function of acyltransferases involved in circadian rhythm and metabolism.

Lab Website: Philip Cole Lab

Selected Publications

View all on Pubmed

Muir, T. W., Sondhi, D., Cole, P. A. (1998) Expressed Protein Ligation: A General Method for Protein Engineering Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 95, 6705-6710.

Lau, O. D., Kundu, T. K., Soccio, R. E., Ait-Si-Ali, S., Khalil, E. M., Vassilev, A., Wolffe, A. P., Nakatani, Y., Roeder, R. G., Cole, P. A. (2000) HATs Off: Selective Synthetic Inhibitors of the Histone Acetyltransferases p300 and PCAF Molecular Cell 5, 589-595.

Qiao, Y., Molina, H., Pandey, A., Zhang, J., Cole, P. A. (2006) Chemical Rescue of a Mutant Enzyme in Living Cells Science 311, 1293-1297.

Liu, X., Wang, L., Zhao, K., Thompson, P. R., Hwang, Y., Marmorstein, R., Cole, P. A. (2008) The Structural Basis of Protein Acetylation by the p300/CBP Transcriptional Coactivator Nature 451, 846-850.

Bowers, E., Yan, G., Mukherjee, C., Orry, A., Wang, L., Holbert, M. A., Crump, N. T., Hazzalin, C. A., Liszczak, G., Yuan, H., Larocca, C., Saldanha, S. A., Abagyan, R., Sun, Y., Meyers, D. J., Marmorstein, R., Mahadevan, L. C., Alani, R. M., Cole, P. A. (2010) Virtual Ligand Screening of the p300/CBP Histone Acetyltransferase: Identification of a Selective Small Molecule Inhibitor Chem. Biol. 17, 471-482.

Academic Affiliations & Courses

Graduate Program Affiliation

Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology

Chemistry-Biology Interface Graduate Program

Program in Molecular Biophysics

Activities & Honors


  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2013
  • Michael A. Shanoff Research Award, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 1990
  • Top Innovator of the Year, Maryland Daily Record, 2006
  • Medical Scientist Training Program Grant Award, National Institutes of Health, 1985 - 1991
  • Winston Churchill Scholarship, University of Cambridge, 1985 - 1985
  • Howard Hughes Physician-Researcher Postdoctoral Fellowship, 1993
  • Damon Runyon Scholar Award, 1997
  • Irma Hirschl Scholar Award, 1998
  • Burroughs Wellcome New Investigator Award in Toxicology, 1998
  • New Scholar on Aging, Ellison Medical Foundation , 1998


  • American Society of Clinical Investigation, 2006

Professional Activities

  • Co-Chair, Gordon Research Conferences, “Enzymes, Coenzymes, Metabolic Pathways,”, 2009
  • Editorial Board, BMC Biology, 2003
  • Editorial Board, Letters in Drug Design and Discovery
  • Editorial Board, Bioorganic Chemistry, 2002
  • Editorial Board, BMC Chemical Biology, 2001
  • Nominating Committee, American Chemical Society, 2005 - 2008
    Biological Division
  • Scientific Advisory Board, Structural Genomix, 2002

Videos & Media

FAMRI Science at Work

Philip Cole and Julie Brahmer, co-directors of the Johns Hopkins FAMRI (Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute) Center of Excellence, discuss the centers activities and progress in this video produced by the Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

Philip Cole | Taking Advantage of the Biological Revolution to Design New Therapeutics

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