John Loughlin, PhD

Newcastle University

Professor John Loughlin is a UK-based molecular and cell biologist with a background in genetics. He did his PhD in developmental biology at the University of Leeds and his postdoctoral studies at the Institute of Molecular Medicine at the University of Oxford. These involved a molecular genetic analysis of diseases of the musculoskeletal system. He subsequently obtained a fellowship from the Arthritis Research Campaign (know known as Versus Arthritis) and established a group at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics in Oxford. At that point, his focus became the genetic analysis of osteoarthritis. In 2002, he was awarded a tenured lectureship at Oxford and in 2008 he moved to Newcastle University as Professor of Musculoskeletal Research.

Professor Loughlin’s research group focuses on the identification and characterization of those genes that confer risk towards the development and progression of OA. Through the application of powerful genome-wide association scans involving tens of thousands of OA patients, he has led and collaborated in the identification of a large number of OA susceptibility genes. His group’s efforts are directed toward comprehensive functional analysis of the associated variants within these genes, and in others that are emerging from ongoing scans. This includes an analysis of epigenetic effects on OA susceptibility loci and on the disease process as a whole.

He is a member of two ongoing large scale consortia focusing on OA and on musculoskeletal diseases: CIMA, the MRC-Versus Research Centre for Integrated Research into Musculoskeletal Ageing, and APPROACH, an Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) funded public-private partnership directed to OA biomarker development through the establishment of a heavily phenotyped and comprehensively analyzed OA longitudinal cohort.

Professor Loughlin has published peer reviewed papers in a number of leading journals including Nature Genetics, Nature Communications, PNAS, The Lancet, British Medical Journal, American Journal of Human Genetics, PLoS Genetics, Human Molecular Genetics, Journal of Biological Chemistry, Arthritis & Rheumatism, and Osteoarthritis and Cartilage.

He was a member of the executive committee of OARSI from 2010-2019 and its president from 2015-2017. During this period, he was the co-organizer and co-chair of international workshops on OA biomarkers and on OA epigenetics.

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