Peter J McKinnon, Ph.D.

Peter J McKinnon, Ph.D.

Department of Genetics and Tumor
Cell Biology
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

Affiliated Professor
Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
Department Genetics & Tumor Cell Biology
262 Danny Thomas Place
Memphis, TN 38105
Phone (901) 595-2700
Fax (901) 525-6035
Email: Peter J McKinnon


  • Ph.D. Institution: The Flinders Universiry of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia
  • Postdoctoral: The Roche Institute of Molecular Biology, Nutley, New Jersey


Research Interests

Our goal is to understand the role of the DNA damage response in the nervous system, and how this functions to prevent disease. The response to genotoxic stress is a prerequisite for development of the nervous system. Mutations in a variety of DNA damage-response factors can lead to human diseases that are characterized by pronounced neuropathology. In many of these syndromes the neurological component is amongst the most deleterious aspects of the disease. Because the nervous system poses a particular challenge in terms of clinical intervention, understanding how DNA repair deficiency impacts the nervous system will be important for design of therapies targeted at ameliorating neuropathology including neurodegeneration and brain tumors. For more information please see:

Representative Publications

  • Ho Y, Li X, Jamison S, Harding HP, McKinnon PJ, Ron D, Lin W. PERK Activation Promotes Medulloblastoma Tumorigenesis by Attenuating Premalignant Granule Cell Precursor Apoptosis. Am J Pathol. 2016 May 12. pii: S0002-9440(16)30063-3. doi: 10.1016/j.ajpath.2016.03.004. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 27181404.
  • Dumitrache LC, McKinnon PJ. Polynucleotide Kinase-Phosphatase (PNKP) Mutations and Neurologic Disease. Mech Ageing Dev. 2016 Apr 25. pii: S0047-6374(16)30051-3. doi: 10.1016/j.mad.2016.04.009. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 27125728.
  • Zhan H, Aizawa K, Sun J, Tomida S, Otsu K, Conway SJ, Mckinnon PJ, Manabe I, Komuro I, Miyagawa K, Nagai R, Suzuki T. Ataxia telangiectasia mutated in cardiac fibroblasts regulates doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity. Cardiovasc Res. 2016 May 1;110(1):85-95. doi: 10.1093/cvr/cvw032. Epub 2016 Feb 9. PubMed PMID: 26862121; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4798048.
  • Grigaravicius P, Kaminska E, Hübner CA, McKinnon PJ, von Deimling A, Frappart PO. Rint1 inactivation triggers genomic instability, ER stress and autophagy inhibition in the brain. Cell Death Differ. 2016 Mar;23(3):454-68. doi: 10.1038/cdd.2015.113. Epub 2015 Sep 18. PubMed PMID: 26383973.
  • Shimada M, Dumitrache LC, Russell HR, McKinnon PJ. Polynucleotide kinase-phosphatase enables neurogenesis via multiple DNA repair pathways to maintain genome stability. EMBO J. 2015 Oct 1;34(19):2465-80. doi: 10.15252/embj.201591363. Epub 2015 Aug 19. PubMed PMID: 26290337; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4601665.
  • Marjanović M, Sánchez-Huertas C, Terré B, Gómez R, Scheel JF, Pacheco S, Knobel PA, Martínez-Marchal A, Aivio S, Palenzuela L, Wolfrum U, McKinnon PJ, Suja JA, Roig I, Costanzo V, Lüders J, Stracker TH. CEP63 deficiency promotes p53-dependent microcephaly and reveals a role for the centrosome in meiotic recombination. Nat Commun. 2015 Jul 9;6:7676. doi: 10.1038/ncomms8676. PubMed PMID: 26158450; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4499871.

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