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Dr. Margaret Johnson is a structural biologist with more than 10 years’ experience in magnetic resonance applied to problems in human disease. She obtained her PhD under the direction of B. Mario Pinto investigating the phenomenon of peptide-carbohydrate mimicry. She then trained as a CIHR postdoctoral fellow in solution NMR-based structural biology in the laboratory of Kurt Wüthrich at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego.
From 2009-2012 she was NMR research associate at the University of Alberta/Alberta Glycomics Centre under the direction of David R. Bundle. Her work has been recognized in the Protein Structure Initiative/Nature Structural Genomics Knowledgebase, JBC Paper of the Week, Boehringer Ingelheim Award of the Canadian Society for Chemistry, and the Governor General's Gold Medal.
Dr. Johnson’s group explores the relationships between sequence, structure, folding and function in biomolecules. We are particularly interested in unusual nucleic acids such as poly(ADP-ribose) and guanine quadruplexes. These structures are key biochemical signals that control biochemical processes in cells and pathogens. For example, G-quadruplex interactions impact gene expression, the cell cycle, and viral replication. Poly(ADP-ribose), a post-translational modification that has been termed the “third nucleic acid”, contributes to DNA damage repair and stress responses in eukaryotes. A better understanding of nucleic acid biochemistry can therefore lead to determining new signaling pathways, diagnostics and therapeutics for emerging viruses, cancer, cardiovascular disease and other pathological conditions. The group aims to isolate novel nucleic acid-binding proteins and understand the molecular recognition of unusual nucleic acid structures by these proteins.
Christian Herzmann, Colette Smith, Margaret A Johnson, Patrick Byrne, Giorgio Terenghi, Yasotha Duraisamy and Mike Youle
Research Article: J AIDS Clin Res 2010, 1:108