Dr. Randy L. Johnson
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Department of Cancer Biology
The Johnson laboratory studies mammalian growth control using a combination of in vitro and in vivo approaches. Currently the laboratory focuses on the Hippo signaling pathway, an emerging growth control and tumor suppressor pathway first identified over ten years ago in Drosophila. The Hippo signaling pathway is conserved in mammals where it plays important roles in development, homeostasis, regeneration and disease. Our laboratory has recently carried out an in vivo mutagenesis screen in mice for genes and pathways that cooperate with reduced Hippo signaling to drive liver cancer formation. We are employing in vitro and in vivo somatic gene editing using CRISPR/Cas9 to study these genes and pathways to address two major questions: how do these genes and pathways control malignant transformation and how do they interface with Hippo signaling to prevent tumor formation. A tutorial in the Johnson laboratory would expose GSBS students to mouse cancer biology and genetics as well as state-of-the art tools of modern cancer biology including CRISPR/Cas9 based genome editing, next generation sequencing, and single cell genomic analysis.