Matt Johnson

Matt Johnson

Research Interest

Short Research Description

Previous Institution: Tufts University

Full Research Description

I grew up in central New Jersey and went on to pursue a B.S. degree in Biochemistry at Tufts University completed in 2020. I also minored in Mandarin Chinese and spent a semester studying Chinese language and culture at Beijing Normal University in Fall 2018. At Tufts, I completed my senior honors thesis as a member of Dr. Catherine Freudenreich’s lab. The Freudenreich lab studies CAG trinucleotide repeats, which have been known to cause neurodegenerative diseases such as Huntington’s Disease. CAG repeats are also prone to expansion/contraction of repeat size, and they have been identified as fragile genomic regions. I studied the fragility of CAG repeats and how resulting lesions are repaired to allow for faithful genome maintenance. Specifically, my senior thesis project explored the role of the S-phase DNA damage checkpoint in the signaling of repair.

Continuing research at Columbia, I hope to study Molecular and Cellular Biology with an emphasis on DNA damage and repair. Further, I seek to understand the genetic triggers that can lead to improper genome maintenance and how these events may lead to the progression of diseases such as cancers.