Research Interests

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) has a complex etiology, and CVD patients show a wide range of responses to therapeutic interventions. Dr. Johnson’s laboratory research focuses on understanding genetic and genomic underpinnings of this individual variability in therapeutically targeted CVD pathways. In particular, his work focuses on understanding individual variability in platelet development, function, and response to treatment. Drugs that decrease platelet reactivity, such as aspirin, are commonly used to reduce the risks of cardiovascular events such as myocardial infarction. Dr. Johnson is interested in the pharmacogenetics of anti-platelet treatments and resulting CVD outcomes. His laboratory applies population-scale approaches to the problem including genetic studies, collaboration with clinician-scientists, studies of gene expression variability in human tissues, and bioinformatics and systems biology approaches. His group makes particular use of the Framingham Heart Study and the rich amount of epidemiologic and genetic data it has accumulated over the years. Dr. Johnson is the PI of a large ongoing study with new platelet function data collection in the Framingham Heart Study.

Additionally, the Johnson laboratory creates and applies cutting edge genomic and bioinformatics resources. To date these resources include SNAP (SNP Annotation and Proxy Search(link is external)), a fast human linkage disequilibrium query and annotation interface for worldwide population genetic samples; and GRASP (Genome-wide Repository of Associations between SNPs and Phenotypes), one of the largest and deepest databases of human genetic associations.

In addition to advancing the goals of his research group and others at the NHLBI, these resources will also be made freely available to benefit the wider scientific community, and help advance our understanding of CVD variability.

A complete listing of Dr. Johnson's publications can be viewed here and at his NCBI Collection.


Taylor PN, Porcu E, Chew S, Campbell PJ, Traglia M, Brown SJ, Mullin BH, Shihab HA, Min J, Walter K, Memari Y, Huang J, Barnes MR, Beilby JP, Charoen P, Danecek P, Dudbridge F, Forgetta V, Greenwood C, Grundberg E, Johnson AD, Hui J, Lim EM, et. al
Nat Commun 2015 Jan 01;6:5681.
Peters MJ, Joehanes R, Pilling LC, Schurmann C, Conneely KN, Powell J, Reinmaa E, Sutphin GL, Zhernakova A, Schramm K, Wilson YA, Kobes S, Tukiainen T, Ramos YF, Göring HH, Fornage M, Liu Y, Gharib SA, Stranger BE, De Jager PL, Aviv A, Levy D, et. al
Nat Commun 2015 Jan 01;6:8570.
Keller MF, Reiner AP, Okada Y, van Rooij FJ, Johnson AD, Chen MH, Smith AV, Morris AP, Tanaka T, Ferrucci L, Zonderman AB, Lettre G, Harris T, Garcia M, Bandinelli S, Qayyum R, Yanek LR, Becker DM, Becker LC, Kooperberg C, Keating B, Reis J, Tang H, Boerw
Hum Mol Genet 2014 Nov 20;23(25):6944-60.