Leadership

Joshua L. LaBaer, MD, PhD, a leading researcher in cancer and personalized medicine, is the executive director for the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University.

Joshua LaBaer is one of the nation’s foremost investigators in the rapidly expanding field of personalized diagnostics. His efforts focus on the discovery and validation of biomarkers — unique molecular fingerprints of disease — which can provide early warning for those at risk of major illnesses, including cancer and diabetes. In 2017, LaBaer was appointed as the executive director of the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University. There he guides talented researchers, who are pioneering a dynamic new academic research model that embodies a hub for 21st century innovation. 

Formerly founder and director of the Harvard Institute of Proteomics, LaBaer was recruited to Biodesign Institute as the first Piper Chair in Personalized Medicine in 2009. The Biodesign Virginia G. Piper Center for Personalized Diagnostics has a highly multidisciplinary staff of molecular biologists, cell biologists, biochemists, software engineers, database specialists, bioinformaticists, biostatisticians and automation engineers. 

Using new high-throughput technologies, LaBaer’s team advanced the discipline of functional proteomics, which seeks to understand the roles of all the proteins made in the human body. His group invented a novel protein microarray technology, Nucleic Acid Programmable Protein Array, which has been used widely for biomedical research, such as the discovery of biomarkers for the detection or patient stratification of various cancers, autoimmune diseases, and infectious diseases, including autoantibody biomarkers used in the first CLIA-certified blood test for breast cancer. 

LaBaer earned his medical degree and a doctorate in biochemistry and biophysics, from the University of California, San Francisco in 1990. He completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in 1992 and completed a clinical fellowship in medical oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in 1995. 

LaBaer is an associate editor for the Journal of Proteome Research, a member of the board of directors for the American Type Culture Collection and is a member of the scientific advisory boards for the Provista Dx, iNanoBio and the Dorothy Foundation. He also was a recent member of the National Cancer Institute’s Board of Scientific Advisors, is chair of the National Cancer Institute Early Detection Research Network Steering Committee and is a founding member and has served as president of the U.S. Human Proteome Organization.