Research Assistant Professor
Department of Immunology
University of Washington
Seattle, Washington USA
Dr. Loo’s current research is focused on understanding the mechanisms by which RNA viruses trigger and control innate immune signaling through the RIG-I-like receptors and MAVS. A major focus of her studies is to define novel antiviral targets for the development of effective immunotherapies to control virus infection.
Dr. Yueh-Ming (Ming) Loo received her Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from the State University of New York at Buffalo where her training with Thomas Melendy focused on virus-host interactions required for papillomavirus DNA replication. She pursued her post-doctoral training with Dr.Michael Gale Jr. at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, where she identified MAVS as the target for immune regulation by the hepatitis C virus (HCV), a human pathogen of global public health concern.Her studies showed that HCV expresses a protease NS3/4A that specifically targets MAVS for proteolytic cleavage and abrogates interferon production, thus allowing the virus to evade the host innate immune response to establish chronic infection. Importantly, she showed that NS3/4A-specific protease inhibitors not only rescued MAVS from cleavage, but further restored interferon production and the innate antiviral response in infected cells, providing strong evidence identifying MAVS as a potential therapeutic target for the prevention of HCV infection. Additionally, Dr. Loo has contributed to numerous studies characterizing the innate immune signaling action of RIG-I-like receptors and signaling regulation by pathogenic viruses.
Dr. Loo was previously a recipient of the Christina Fleischmann Award, sponsored by the International Society of Interferon and Cytokine Research (ISICR). She has co-authored several scientific publications, including a book chapter describing the mechanisms by which RNA viruses regulate host innate immune defenses, and a review on signaling by the RIG-I-like receptors. She is currently a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Immunology at the University of Washington.