New Pyle Chair Honors Morgridge Affiliate Joshua Coon

Photo of Josh CoonA new chair at the Morgridge Institute for Research takes aim at osteoarthritis, a debilitating and painful disease that affects more than 27 million Americans. Currently, osteoarthritis is largely treated with palliative care to help patients alleviate their symptoms.

“I think because arthritis is life-altering, not life-threatening, it doesn’t attract the research dollars required to find a solution,” says Peggy Pyle. “It’s time to change that!”

And Peggy knows. Since she was diagnosed with osteoarthritis, she’s been shocked at the lack of research into prevention and irradication of the disease. Treatment options are limited to medications like NSAIDs or joint replacement with no way to stop osteoarthritis’s progression.

Peggy’s commitment to battling the disease has only increased since her husband Tom was diagnosed with arthritis and underwent a hip replacement.

Now with support from the Thomas and Margaret Pyle Chair, which honors Tom’s longtime service on the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation Board of Trustees, there’s a new commitment to tackling osteoarthritis at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Joshua Coon, a professor of chemistry and biomolecular chemistry and Morgridge Institute affiliate, is the inaugural recipient of the chair. The Coon Lab specializes in creating and applying high-powered must-have technologies that help scientists answer biomedical questions with applications for human health.

“We hope to accelerate technology and accelerate all areas of biological research,” he says. “I really consider our team ‘technologists.’ We are building and developing new tools to measure biomolecules.”

Coon is a renowned innovator of mass spectrometry technology with more than 100 research collaborations across UW-Madison and the world, including the Morgridge Metabolism Initiative directed by Dave Pagliarini, the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center and ongoing research supported by the National Institutes of Health to identify molecular markers of Alzheimer’s disease.

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