Joe Loparo received his B.S. degree in chemistry from Case Western Reserve University. As a graduate student in chemistry at MIT he worked with Andrei Tokmakoff where he developed novel multidimensional infrared spectroscopies to study the hydrogen bond dynamics of water.
Upon completion of his Ph. D., Joe moved to Harvard Medical School where he was a Jane Coffin Childs postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Antoine van Oijen. While there Joe used single-molecule approaches to study the dynamics of the replisome, the multi-protein machinery that carries out DNA replication.
Joe started his own laboratory in the Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at HMS in July of 2010. The Loparo lab develops and applies single-molecule approaches to study how cells maintain their genetic information.
Our genetic information is stored in the sequence of DNA bases contained in each of our cells. DNA is a fragile molecule and is continuously undergoing chemical damage from both endogenous and exogenous sources. Left unrepaired this damage can lead to cell death or the introduction of mutations into the genetic information which can lead to diseases, including cancer.
The Loparo lab uses advanced microscopy approaches to visualize individual molecules in order to understand how the multi-protein complexes are involved in DNA replication and repair function. Current areas of investigation include how chromosomes are structured and segregated, how the DNA replication machinery overcomes blocking DNA damage and how DNA double strand breaks are repaired.