Junior Group Leader, Assistant Professor
University Hospital of Bern
Since 2016, Dr. Johnson has been a Junior Group leader with the Swiss National Centers for Competence in Research (NCCR) “RNA & Disease”, and Assistant Professor at the Medical Faculty of the University of Bern. He lead the Genomics of Long noncoding RNAs in Disease laboratory focussed on understanding the role of elusive long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) in common human diseases. They follow an interdisciplinary “wet/dry” strategy, including in-house genome-editing (CRISPR-Cas9) and transcriptome analysis tools, to screen for potential drug target lncRNAs. He obtained his PhD in the Wellcome Trust programme at the University of Leeds, for the identification of microRNA dysregulation in Huntington’s disease neurodegeneration. During his postdoc at the Genome Institute of Singapore,heI applied Next Generation Sequencing and bioinformatic methods to deciphering gene regulatory networks in embryonic and neural stem cells. Next he moved to the CRG, Barcelona, to work with Roderic Guigo on annotation and functional classification of lncRNAs within the framework of the GENCODE consortium. GENCODE lncRNA annotations, to which he contributed, are a foundational resource for the field and used by thousands of groups worldwide. More recently his team has participated in the International Cancer Genome Consortium, where his team created amongst the first approach capable of identifying cancer-driver lncRNAs by analysis of somatic mutations. he was the holder of a Ramon y Cajal fellowship from the Spanish government, and a Presidents International Fellowship Initiative award from the Chinese Academy of Sciences.