The Cooper Institute

Founded in 1970 by the "Father of Aerobics"
Kenneth H. Cooper MD, MPH



Laura DeFina, MD

Laura DeFina, MD
President and Chief Executive Officer

Laura Fink DeFina, M.D. is the President and Chief Executive Officer for The Cooper Institute, appointed by the Board of Directors on June, 2, 2014. In addition, Dr. DeFina specifically leads the research division as The Institute's Chief Science Officer, a position she has held since February, 2013.

Dr. DeFina received her M.D. from George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C. and completed her post-graduate training at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. While in the U.S. Army, she practiced medicine at Andrew Radar U.S. Army Health Clinic (Fort Myer, VA) and at Dwight David Eisenhower Army Medical Center (Fort Gordon, GA).

After relocating to Dallas, she practiced Geriatrics with the Health Texas Provider Network/Baylor Senior Health Network for 12 years prior to joining the Cooper Clinic in 2006 to pursue her interest in prevention and research. After three years at the Cooper Clinic, in 2009 she joined The Cooper Institute as the Medical Director. While involved in research at The Institute, she has overseen The Cooper Institute/University of Texas Southwestern Research Collaboration and has authored and co-authored manuscripts related to, among other topics, brain health, healthy aging, depression, cardiorespiratory fitness, and injury in physically active women.

Outside of The Cooper Institute, Dr. DeFina has served on the Prevention and Brain Health Group for the Texas State Plan on Alzheimer's Disease since 2009. She was recently appointed to the Texas Council on Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders by Governor Perry. Additionally, Dr. DeFina is in the fifth class of Leadership North Texas. She is very active in church volunteer activities especially in the arena of providing a safe environment for children, disabled, and elders alike.

Connie Tyne, MS

Connie Tyne, MS
Vice President of External Affairs

Connie Tyne has worked for Dr. Cooper in several capacities over the past fifteen years and has a passion for inspiring people to commit to healthy change in their lives. Connie manages the external business relationships and fund-raising events for the Institute in support of preventive medicine research, education, and fighting adult and childhood obesity.

For twelve years, she served as Vice President and Executive Director of the nationally reputed Cooper Wellness program offering realistic and effective strategies for weight loss, fitness, and stress management that are medically based, scientifically proven, and cost effective.

Joining The Institute gave her the opportunity to pursue fundraising and business development for the non-profit, research-based programs she believes in.

Connie received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Education and Psychology from Southern Methodist University and her Master of Science from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Jane Ann Layton, BS

Jane Ann Layton, BS
Human Resources Director

Jane Ann Layton oversees and administers all aspects of human resources. Her responsibilities include benefits administration, recruiting, new employee orientation, policies and procedures, performance management and employee relations. She is a seasoned Human Resources professional having worked in the field for almost 20 years. Jane Ann began her interest in human resources while working at The University of Chicago's Graduate School of Business as the Assistant Personnel Manager. From there she advanced her career as the Senior Human Resources Manager for Beckett Publications in Dallas for 16 years. She joined The Cooper Institute as the Human Resources Director in 2008.

She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas Tech University and maintains a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification. She is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management Association (SHRM), as well as a member of the Dallas Human Resource Management Association (DHRMA) where she participates in the non-profit professional emphasis group.