Welcome to the Laboratory of Kenneth A. Johnson
Dr. Johnson received his Ph.D. in 1975 in Molecular Biology at the University of Wisconsin and completed postdoctoral studies at the University of Chicago with Edwin W. Taylor where he learned transient kinetic methods. He joined the University of Texas at Austin in 1998 after having served on the faculty of Penn State University as the Paul Berg Professor of Biochemistry. He is currently the Roger J. Williams Centennial Professor of Biochemistry as a member of the Department of Chemistry of Biochemistry and of the Institute for Cell and Molecular Biology. He is the recipient of the Pfizer Award in Enzyme Chemistry, the Penn State Faculty Scholar Medal and is a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
Dr. Johnson's research is focused on the examination of DNA and RNA polymerases involved in the treatment of viral infections, and mechanisms for force production by molecular motors. He has designed and built instruments for transient kinetic analysis and made them available through his company, KinTek Corporation that he founded in 1987. He has established the mechanistic basis for DNA polymerase selectivity during polymerization using modern kinetic methods that he developed. His recent work has shown that the toxicity of nucleoside analogs used to treat AIDS is correlated with their rates of incorporation by the mitochondrial DNA polymerase.