Professor John Loughlin is a molecular and cell biologist with a background in genetics. He did his PhD in developmental biology at Leeds University and his postdoctoral studies at the Institute of Molecular Medicine at Oxford University. These involved a molecular genetic analysis of diseases of the musculoskeletal system. He subsequently obtained a fellowship from the Arthritis Research Campaign and established a group at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics. At that point his focus became the genetic analysis of osteoarthritis (OA). 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 laboratory 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, his group has identified 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.
From 2007-2011 he was the principal investigator for arcOGEN, a UK consortium funded by Arthritis Research UK directed toward the association mapping of OA susceptibility loci. The consortium involved eleven centers from across the UK and helped to delineate the genetic architecture of this common disease.
He is also a member of three ongoing large scale consortia focusing on OA and on musculoskeletal diseases: CIMA, the MRC-Arthritis Research UK Centre for Integrated Research into Musculoskeletal Ageing; D-BOARD, a European Union FP7-funded 5-year collaborative project focusing on OA biomarkers 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, 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 has considerable experience of graduate student supervision and of the mentoring of junior researchers.
He lives in Tynemouth, a coastal village close to Newcastle, with his wife Dr. Julia Stickland and their daughter Clara.