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Peter J McKinnon, PhD

Affiliated Professor
Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology

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

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


  • PhD 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

  • McNeill DR, Whitaker AM, Stark WJ, Illuzzi JL, McKinnon PJ, Freudenthal BD, Wilson DM. Functions of the major abasic endonuclease (APE1) in cell viability and genotoxin resistance. Mutagenesis. 2019 Dec 9. pii: gez046. doi: 10.1093/mutage/gez046. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 31816044.
  • Callen E, Zong D, Wu W, Wong N, Stanlie A, Ishikawa M, Pavani R, Dumitrache LC, Byrum AK, Mendez-Dorantes C, Martinez P, Canela A, Maman Y, Day A, Kruhlak MJ, Blasco MA, Stark JM, Mosammaparast N, McKinnon PJ, Nussenzweig A. 53BP1 Enforces Distinct Pre- and Post-resection Blocks on Homologous Recombination. Mol Cell. 2019 Oct 15. pii: S1097-2765(19)30729-4. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2019.09.024. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 31653568.
  • Binder M, Chmielarz P, Mckinnon PJ, Biggs LC, Thesleff I, Balic A. Functionally Distinctive Ptch Receptors Establish Multimodal Hedgehog Signaling in the Tooth Epithelial Stem Cell Niche. Stem Cells. 2019 Sep;37(9):1238-1248. doi: 10.1002/stem.3042. Epub 2019 Jun 10. PubMed PMID: 31145830.
  • Larson JD, Kasper LH, Paugh BS, Jin H, Wu G, Kwon CH, Fan Y, Shaw TI, Silveira AB, Qu C, Xu R, Zhu X, Zhang J, Russell HR, Peters JL, Finkelstein D, Xu B, Lin T, Tinkle CL, Patay Z, Onar-Thomas A, Pounds SB, McKinnon PJ, Ellison DW, Zhang J, Baker SJ. Histone H3.3 K27M Accelerates Spontaneous Brainstem Glioma and Drives Restricted Changes in Bivalent Gene Expression. Cancer Cell. 2019 Jan 14;35(1):140-155.e7. doi: 10.1016/j.ccell.2018.11.015. Epub 2018 Dec 27. PubMed PMID: 30595505; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6570409.
  • Lavado A, Park JY, Paré J, Finkelstein D, Pan H, Xu B, Fan Y, Kumar RP, Neale G, Kwak YD, McKinnon PJ, Johnson RL, Cao X. The Hippo Pathway Prevents YAP/TAZ-Driven Hypertranscription and Controls Neural Progenitor Number. Dev Cell. 2018 Dec 3;47(5):576-591.e8. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2018.09.021. Epub 2018 Oct 25. PubMed PMID: 30523785; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6296252.
  • Dumitrache LC, Shimada M, Downing SM, Kwak YD, Li Y, Illuzzi JL, Russell HR, Wilson DM 3rd, McKinnon PJ. Apurinic endonuclease-1 preserves neural genome integrity to maintain homeostasis and thermoregulation and prevent brain tumors. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018 Dec 26;115(52):E12285-E12294. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1809682115. Epub 2018 Dec 11. PubMed PMID: 30538199; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6310806.

View more references (pubmed link)

May 26, 2022