Dr. Joseph A. Loo is a Professor in the Department of Biological Chemistry, David Geffen School of Medicine, and in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and he is the Faculty Director of the UCLA Mass Spectrometry and Proteomics Technology Center. He is also a member of UCLA/DOE Laboratory for Genomics and Proteomics, the UCLA Molecular Biology Institute, and the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.
He is an expert in the mass spectrometry characterization of proteins and their post-translational modifications, and is the author of over 180 scientific publications. In 2000-2002, he served on the Board of Directors for the American Society for Mass Spectrometry. He has been on the Editorial Boards of the journals Bioconjugate Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry, Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry (JASMS), and Chemical & Engineering News and currently he serves on the Editorial Advisory Board for Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry and as an Associate Editor for JASMS.
His research interests include the development of bioanalytical methods for the structural characterization of proteins and their application for proteomics and disease biomarkers. He was one of the first researchers to apply electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS) to directly measure noncovalently-bound macromolecular assemblies and their interactions with other binding partners and ligands. The method can be applied to measure drug binding to their targeted proteins to even larger complexes in excess of 1 MDa.
Currently, his laboratory is developing technologies to profile proteins in human salivary fluids for their application for human disease biomarker discovery. He co-authored a study with a consortium composed of groups from UCLA, UCSF, and Scripps that details the first catalog and preliminary analysis of ductal salivary proteins.
In 2008, he received one of the first grants made under the new “Exceptional, Unconventional Research Enabling Knowledge Acceleration (EUREKA)” NIH program. The goal of this program is to “help investigators test novel, often unconventional hypotheses or tackle major methodological or technical challenges”. The Loo award is to study the “Impact of Non-Canonical Decoding on the Proteome”.
Before he joined UCLA in 2001, he was Group Leader of the Biological Mass Spectrometry and Proteomics Teams at Warner-Lambert/Parke-Davis Pharmaceutical (currently Pfizer Global Research). He worked at Parke-Davis/Pfizer for nearly 10 years before moving to UCLA.
He received his BS degree in Chemistry from Clarkson University (Potsdam, NY), and his Ph.D. degree in analytical chemistry from Cornell University in 1988 (Prof. Fred W. McLafferty). He carried out post-doctoral research at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA (Dr. Richard D. Smith).
Structural characterization of proteins and post-translational modifications, and proteomics-based research
The Loo research group focuses on the development of bioanalytical mass spectrometry (MS) methods for the structural characterization of peptides and proteins and the application of MS for proteomics and disease biomarkers. Research projects include: development of novel modes of electrospray ionization and matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization for applicability to structural biology and proteomics; mass spectrometry and ion mobility analysis of noncovalently-bound macromolecular complexes and their interactions with other binding partners and ligands; gas phase protein structures and the relationship to their solution phase counterparts; development of separation and MS-sequencing tools for large-scale proteome profiling; top-down protein mass spectrometry; elucidation of protein complexes, interactions, and post-translational modifications found in complex, biological systems; discovering protein markers of human diseases; MS-based characterization of protein aggregation and its role in neurodegenerative diseases.
Honors & Awards
- Clarkson U. American Chemical Society Analytical Chemistry Division Award
- Clarkson U. Chemical Rubber Company Achievement Award
- Clarkson U. George L. Jones, Jr. Memorial Award
- Clarkson U. Merck Chemistry Award
- Cornell Chemistry Teaching Assistant Award
- Clarkson U. Stephen Brunauer Senior Thesis Award
- Bridges to the Professorate NIGMS Program Compact for Faculty Diversity Faculty Mentor of the Year Award
- Australian and New Zealand Society for Mass Spectrometry (ANZSMS) Visiting Lecturer
- Allan Maccoll Organic Mass Spectrometry Journal Award