Yueh-Ming Loo, Ph.D.

Yueh-Ming Loo, PhD

Research Assistant Professor, Immunology

Dr. Loo graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She went on to receive her Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology in 2003 from the State University of New York – Buffalo. She completed her postdoctoral training at the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. Dr. Loo joined the Department of Immunology as a Research Assistant Professor in 2010.

Contact Info

Department of Immunology
University of Washington
UW BOX 358059
750 Republican St.
Seattle, WA 98109
Phone: 206.543.4167
Fax: 206.685.7120 

Research Areas

  • Molecular Immunology
    Innate Immunity

The innate immune system detects and responds within minutes or hours to infection and provides us with the first lines of defense against infections. Innate immunity begins with the non-self-recognition of pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs), conserved molecular features unique to pathogens that happen to be presented during infection. Such motifs are detected by specialized pathogen recognition receptors (PRRs) that in response initiates complex signaling cascades that culminate in the expression of antimicrobial genes and interferons that function to suppress and control infection.

Research by our group focuses on a family of PRRs consisting of the retinoic acid-inducible gene I (RIG-I) and related proteins that recognize nucleic acids from viruses in the host cell and are essential for signaling the innate immune response to control virus infection. Upon detection of viral nucleic acids, RIG-I initiates a signaling cascade that culminates in the expression of many genes with direct antiviral activity and the production of interferons and cytokines that coordinately function to limit infection. Signaling by RIG-I is tightly regulated by post-translational modifications as well as intra- and intermolecular interactions with itself and with signaling co-factors. We are particularly interested in understanding the molecular interactions that govern RIG-I induction of innate immunity. Our research has led to the identification of nucleic acid moieties and small, drug-like molecules that can activate RIG-I-dependent innate immune responses. Such molecules exhibit potent and broad-spectrum antiviral activity and also the ability to potentiate vaccine-mediated immune responses. A major focus of our on-going research is in using these molecules to understand the mechanism of RIG-I signaling, and the development of novel RIG-I-based therapies to control virus infection.

  1. Hare DN, Collins SE, Mukherjee S, Loo YM, Gale M Jr., Janssen LJ, Mossman KL (2015). Membrane perturbation-associated Ca2+ signaling and incoming genome sensing are required for the host response to low-level enveloped virus particle entry. Journal of Virology. 90:3018-3027. PMID: 26719279 
  2. Patthabhi S, Wilkins CR, Dong R, Knoll ML, Posakony J, Kaiser S, Mire CE, Wang ML, Ireton RC, Geisbert TW, Bedard KM, Iadonato SP, Loo YM* and Gale M Jr.* (2016). Targeting innate immunity for antiviral therapy through small molecule agonists that target the RLR pathway. Journal of Virology. 90:2372-2387. PMID: 26676770 *indicates co-corresponding authorship. 
  3. Nellimarla S, Baid K, Loo YM, Gale M Jr, Bowdish DM and Mossman KL (2015). Class A scavenger receptor-mediated dsRNA internalization is independent of innate antiviral signaling and does not require PI3K activity. Journal of Immunology. 195:3858-65. PMID: 26363049 
  4. Chakrabarti A, Banerjee S, Franchi L, Loo YM, Gale M Jr, Nunez G and Silverman RH (2015). RNase L activates the NLRP3 inflammasome during viral infections. Cell Host Microbe. 8:466-477. PMID: 25816776 
  5. Spann KM, Loh Z, Lynch JP, Ullah A, Zhang V, Baturcam E, Werder RB, Khajornjiraphan N, Rudd P, Loo YM, Suhrbier A, Gale M Jr, Upham JW and Phipps S (2014). IRF-3, IRF-7 and IPS-1 promote host defense against acute human metapneumovirus infection in neonatal mice. American Journal of Pathology. 184:1795-1806. PMID: 24726644 
  6. Brownell J, Bruckner J, Wagoner J, Thomas E, Loo YM, Gale M Jr., Liang TJ and Polyak SJ (2014). Direct, interferon-independent activation of the CXCL10 Promoter by NF-kB and interferon regulatory factor 3 during hepatitis C virus infection. J. Virology. 88:1582-1590. PMID: 24257594

Education/Degrees earned:

B.S., Biology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Ph.D., Microbiology and Immunology, State University of New York at Buffalo