Carlito Lebrilla

Carlito Lebrilla

Position Title
Distinguished Professor

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, School of Medicine
Department of Chemistry

2465 Chemistry Annex

Profile Introduction

Our research is a multidisciplinary effort toward understanding the role of glycoconjugates, post-translational modifications of lipids, peptides, and proteins to determine their function and role in nutrition and diseases. There is a unique focus on glycans and glycosylation. The group typically involves undergraduates, PhD students, postdocs, and laboratory staff scientists.

Research Interests

Bioanalytical tools based on advanced separation methods and accurate mass spectrometry

Develop tools based on mass spectrometry with advanced chromatographic and electrophoretic methods. Tools are used to elucidate and quantitate the structures of peptides, proteins, oligosaccharides, and glycopeptides. Research involves optimizing separation methods, conditions, for quantitative analysis.  MS development includes employing high resolution mass spectrometry, advanced tandem MS methods for structural analysis and quantitation.

Bioactive components of human milk

Research involves deconstructing human milk to determine the bioactive components and their role in infant development and nutrition.  Research involves rapid throughput analysis of animal milk samples for peptides, oligosaccharides, and proteins. Samples of human milk obtained globally from many sites are analyzed to support projects supported by NIH and the Bill and Melinda Gates Fund.

Development of biomarkers for diseases

Biomarkers from tissue including blood, plasma, serum, muscle, and feces are discovered to diagnose autoimmune diseases and various cancer.  Markers for ovarian, breast, prostate, lung, and liver cancers are identified and validated for early diagnosis of diseases.  Research involves quantitating glycopeptides and glycoproteins for their value as diseases markers.

Grad Group Affiliations

  • Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
  • Chemistry

Specialties / Focus

  • Biochemistry
  • Cancer Biology


  • Lebrilla Lab

Honors and Awards

  • Alexander von Humboldt Fellow
  • Nato-NSF Postdoctoral Fellow
  • UC Presidents Postodoctoral Fellow

    Professional Societies

    • American Chemical Society
    • American Society for Mass Spectrometry


    • 1981 BS Chemistry University of California, Irvine
    • 1985 PhD Chemistry University of California, Berkeley