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Eugene M. Johnson, PhD

The major research focus of the laboratory is the study of the biological function and pharmacological potential of GFL neurotrophic factors. Three members of that family (neurturin, persephin, and artemin) were discovered in a collaboration of the Johnson lab and the lab of Dr. Jeffrey Milbrandt.

Medical Training

Dr. Johnson received his B.S. in Pharmacy and Ph.D in Medicinal Chemistry from the University of Maryland and received Postdoctoral Training in Pharmacology from Washington University. He is the Associate Director Alzheimer's Disease Research Center and is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Michael J. Fox Foundation and the AT Children's Project and the Advisory Council of the National Institute on Aging.. He also serves on the Editorial Boards of Neuron and Neurobiology of Disease, and as Section Editor for Experimental Neurology and Neurobiology of Aging.

Selected Publications

M. Encinas, R. J. Crowder, J. Milbrandt, and E. M. Johnson, Jr., "Tyrosine 981, a novel Ret autophosphorylation site, binds c-Src to mediate neuronal survival," J. Biol. Chem,, 279, 18262-18269 (2004)

B. A Pierchala, R. C. Ahrens, A. J. Paden, and E. M. Johnson, Jr., "NGF promotes the survival of sympathetic neurons through the cooperative function of the PKC and PI-3-K pathways," J. Biol Chem, 279, 27986-27993 (2004)

S. Jain, C. K. Naughton, M. Yang, A. Strickland, K. Vij, M. Encinas, J. Golden, A. Gupta, R. Heuckeroth, E. M. Johnson, Jr., and J. Milbrandt, "Mice expressing a dominant negative Ret mutation phenocopy Hirschsprung disease and delineate a role of Ret in spermatogenesis," Development, 131, 5503-5513 (2004)

H. Enomoto, I. Hughes, J. P. Golden, R. H. Baloh, S. Yonemura, R. O. Heuckeroth, E. M. Johnson, Jr., and J. Milbrandt, "GFRα1 expression in cells lacking RET is dispensable for organogenesis and nerve regeneration," Neuron, 44, 623-636 (2004)

L. H. Wang, C. G. Besirli, and E. M. Johnson, Jr., "Mixed Lineage Kinases: A target for prevention of neurodegeneration," Ann Rev. Pharmacol. Toxicol, 44, 451-474 (2004)

L. H. Wang, A. J. Paden, and E. M. Johnson, Jr., "Mixed-lineage kinase inhibitors require the activation of Trk receptors to maintain long-term neuronal trophism and survival,"J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther., 312, 1007-1019 (2005)

M. L. Leitner, L. H. Wang, P. A. Osborne, J. P. Golden, J. Milbrandt, and E. M. Johnson, Jr., "Expression and function of GDNF ligands and receptors in the carotid body." Exp. Neurol., 191, S68-S79 (2005)

C. G. Besirli, E. F. Wagner, and E. M. Johnson, Jr., "The limited role of N-terminal c-Jun phosphorylation in neuronal apoptosis: Identification of the Nuclear Pore Complex as a potential target of the JNK pathway." J. Cell Biol., 170, 401-411 (2005)