Josh Coon

Josh Coon

Investigator, Thomas and Margaret Pyle Chair in Metabolism



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Hailing from a small town in central Michigan, Coon escaped from the cold to earn a Ph.D. at the University of Florida. He went on to conduct his postdoctoral studies with Don Hunt at the University of Virginia. During that time he, along with Hunt and John Syka, co-invented electron transfer dissociation. In 2005 he joined the faculty at Wisconsin to start his own program. Coon’s research group aims to advance mass spectrometer technology to make proteome analysis faster and more accessible. Coon’s research in these areas has been recognized by several awards including the Biemann Medal from the American Society for Mass Spectrometry and the Ken Standing Award from the University of Manitoba. He is the Director of the NIGMS funded National Center for Quantitative Biology of Complex Systems.

The mission of Coon Laboratories is to facilitate expedient, comprehensive systems analysis at the molecular level to advance biomedical, biofuel, and biochemical research.

The sequencing of the human genome marked the beginning of a collective scientific expedition to understand complex organisms. Genes, of course, merely contain the instructions for which proteins will populate the cell. Untangling the multi-faceted networks that regulate complex organisms and their diseases will require innovative technologies to globally monitor many classes of biomolecules, including nucleic acids, proteins, and metabolites. High-throughput technologies for gene and transcript measurement are well-developed and broadly accessible, and, as such, have had a fantastic and transformative impact on modern biology and medicine. For numerous reasons, methods for global analysis of proteins and metabolites – crucial biological effector molecules – are less evolved and markedly less accessible. The overarching mission of my program is to (1) facilitate expedient, comprehensive analysis of proteins and metabolites by innovating new mass spectrometric technologies and (2) apply these techniques to advance biomedical, biofuel, and biochemical research.


B.S. – Central Michigan University – Mount Pleasant, MI (1998)
Ph.D. – University of Florida – Gainesville, FL (2002)
Postdoctoral Fellow – University of Virginia – Charlottesville, VA (2003-2005)