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

  • McKinnon PJ. Topoisomerases and the regulation of neural function. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2016 Nov;17(11):673-679. doi: 10.1038/nrn.2016.101. PubMed PMID: 27630045.
  • Al-Khalaf MH, Blake LE, Larsen BD, Bell RA, Brunette S, Parks RJ, Rudnicki MA, McKinnon PJ, Jeffrey Dilworth F, Megeney LA. Temporal activation of XRCC1-mediated DNA repair is essential for muscle differentiation. Cell Discov. 2016 Jan 12;2:15041. doi: 10.1038/celldisc.2015.41. PubMed PMID: 27462438; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4860966.
  • 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 Jul;186(7):1939-51. doi: 10.1016/j.ajpath.2016.03.004. PubMed PMID: 27181404; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4929388.
  • Dumitrache LC, McKinnon PJ. Polynucleotide kinase-phosphatase (PNKP) mutations and neurologic disease. Mech Ageing Dev. 2016 Apr 26. pii: S0047-6374(16)30051-3. doi: 10.1016/j.mad.2016.04.009. 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. 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. PubMed PMID: 26383973.

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