Kevin C. Johnson, Ph.D.

Affiliate Research Scientist

The major focus of my research program is to investigate the epigenetic reprogramming along the continuum of cancer initiation to disease progression.

I am currently a postdoctoral associate in the laboratory of Dr. Roel Verhaak where my research has focused on brain tumor evolution and heterogeneity. To uncover the evolutionary trajectories that brain tumors take from initial diagnosis to disease recurrence, I co-led an international longitudinal brain tumor sequencing project. Computational analyses of these collected genomics data helped establish the order of somatic events throughout a tumor’s molecular life history and identified the most common evolutionary routes under selective therapeutic pressures. These findings were recently published in Nature, and I continue to be involved with projects that leverage this rich dataset. In a separate study, I have sought to deeply characterize the epigenetic heterogeneity that exists within brain tumors. To this end, I established a single-cell DNA methylation assay that enables genome-wide coverage of the epigenome and applied it to human brain tumor specimens.

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Kevin C. Johnson on ORCID

Education and Experience


Ph.D., Experimental and Molecular Medicine
Dartmouth College 2011 – 2016

B.S., Food Science and Technology
University of Massachusetts – Amherst 2007 – 2011


 The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine 2016 – Present
Postdoctoral Fellow; Advisor: Dr. Roel Verhaak
Genetic and epigenetic evolution of glioma

  • Co-led the international Glioma Longitudinal Analysis (GLASS) Consortium of glioma researchers to sequence initial and recurrent tumor pairs
  • Investigated the selective pressures that shape glioma evolution through multiple time point whole genome sequencing data
  • Established internal single-cell reduced representation bisulfite sequencing protocol to profile DNA methylation heterogeneity in glioma

Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth 2011 – 2016
Graduate Researcher; Advisor: Dr. Brock Christensen
Epigenetic biomarkers of disease progression in human cancers

  • Determined DNA methylation alterations across the spectrum of normal breast tissues, precancerous lesions, and invasive breast cancer in population-based studies
  • Applied integrative epigenomic analyses to simultaneously profile 5-methylcytosine and 5-hydroxymethylcytosine in glioblastoma and their relation with clinical outcomes

Honors and Accomplishments

2016 Neukom Prize for Outstanding Graduate Research in Computational Science

Albert J. Ryan Predoctoral Fellowship