About Us

We are interested in how oxygen flux changes animal physiology. We focus on molecular responses at the genetic and epigenetic, metabolic, and physiological levels of adaptation.

Our Story

After a Ph.D. at Harvard working on gene targeting and oncogene function with Bruce Spiegelman, Randall did his post-doc with Doug Hanahan, then at UC San Francisco. In 1995 he moved to UC San Diego to start his own group, initially working on AP-1 transcription factors. Our group became interested in the HIF transcription factor soon thereafter, creating one of the first knockouts of HIF-1alpha in mice, and then the first conditional HIF-1alpha strain. We have since gone on to work on HIF and oxygen in a wide range of tissues and pathologies, although have continued throughout to have a great interest in the role of hypoxia in cancer.


Cambridge Lab

Our lab in Cambridge was established in 2011, when we moved to the UK from UCSD. Our group is located in the Physiology Building, in a more than hundred year old laboratory where Hodgkin and Huxley did much of their work in discovering the action potential. The space has been renovated once or twice since then, however, and now has all of the modern trappings one needs in a molecular biology lab... We are in the midst of the Downing site, on Tennis Court Road in the center of Cambridge, a few hundred yards from the river Cam and King’s Parade.


Stockholm Lab

Our lab in Stockholm came into being as a small group in 2012, in the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology at the Karolinska Institute. We have since expanded significantly, and now our Swedish group is roughly the same size as our Cambridge group. In 2017 we moved into the newly built Biomedicum Building of the Karolinska, a striking contrast to our lab in Cambridge. We are on the Solna campus of the Karolinska, a ten minute bus/subway ride from the center of Stockholm, rightly called one of the worlds most beautiful capital cities.


Life at the Johnson Lab

We treat the two labs as one entity, with interlab messaging as well as in weekly lab meetings between the two groups by video conference. Both groups exchange reagents, collaborative suggestions, and even members regularly. The labs have a more intensive interaction twice a year at our winter holiday meeting and at a summer retreat. These alternate between locales in the UK and Sweden.