Dr. Loren Pickart, a world-renowned biochemist known for his significant contributions to the field of skin biology and aging, has passed away at the age of 85.
Dr. Pickart was born in Winona, Minnesota to Ralph Pickart and Grace (Mueller) Pickart. Raised working on a dairy farm, on his eighteenth birthday he sold his only possessions - his books - and joined the Army, which he credited for changing his life. In the Army he trained as an engineer and worked with engineers and scientists on DECCA, the system that evolved into the Global Positioning System (GPS).
Dr. Pickart’s academic journey started at the University of Minnesota, where he earned degrees in Chemistry and Mathematics and worked in the Atherosclerosis Research Laboratory. He later attended the University of California, San Francisco where he would meet his wife Charlene, become Editor-in-Chief of the student newspaper, Synapse, and obtain his PhD in biochemistry. His doctoral thesis, “A TriPeptide from Human Serum,” laid the groundwork for his future research and discoveries.
Dr. Pickart’s most notable contribution to science was the discovery of copper peptides and their role in skin health and remodeling. His work on the GHK-Cu peptide, in particular, has been instrumental in understanding the regenerative and protective actions of the compound. His research has shown that GHK-Cu can stimulate gene expression of the ubiquitin-proteasome system, which has implications for aging and disease.
In addition to his research, Dr. Pickart founded two companies to sell copper peptides for wound healing and skin repair. He co-founded ProCyte, which he directed and took to NASDAQ before it merged with another company, and Skin Biology, which he founded with his wife Charlene to continue his work on GHK and develop second-generation copper peptides. Dr. Pickart published 46 articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals and held 29 patents. He received numerous awards for his work as well as an honorary degree from Charles University in Prague.
Dr. Pickart’s work has had a profound impact on the skincare industry, with copper peptides now widely recognized for their ability to improve skin health and rejuvenation. His research has also provided valuable insights into the mechanisms of human aging and disease, and his contributions to the field will continue to influence future research.
Dr. Pickart lived part of every year in Cape San Juan, his favorite place on earth. Dr. Pickart is survived by his wife Charlene of 48 years, his daughters; Germaine, Francoise, Genevieve, Lavinia, Celine and Lisonne; his 10 grandchildren; Jolena, Dakota, Leonardo, Eric, Hannah, Holly, Zarissa, Caleb, Katrina and Jesse: and the J-Pod orcas who liked to eat the salmon out from under him whenever he went fishing.
A memorial service will be held at Bellevue Presbyterian Church on February 24, 2024 at 1 PM.