Johnson Research Group

Logo for the Johnson research group
Group picture of the Johnson research group
Back row (left to right): Dr. Michael Johnson, Dr. Romana Jarasova, Kiersten Garcia, Joseph Loomis, Chase Stucky. Front row (left to right): Ashley Litton, Bhavna Gupta, Joshua Wade, Wadha Alqahtani, Piyanka Hettiarachchi

Neurons communicate by the release of neurotransmitters at the pre-synaptic terminal, a process called exocytosis. Immediately following exocytosis, released neurotransmitter is actively taken back up into the neuron by transporters. A thorough investigation of neurotransmitter release and uptake requires the use of techniques having adequate sensitivity to detect the analyte of interest and sufficient temporal resolution to distinguish between the release and uptake processes.

The goal of our research program is the development and application of bioanalytical techniques capable of studying this signaling process. A wide array of techniques are employed, including fluorescence microscopy, flash photolysis of caged compounds, biochemical methods, and state-of-the-art electrochemical techniques that allow for the monitoring of biogenic molecules on physiologically relevant time scales. These techniques are used to study a variety of important problems, including neurological disorders, oxidative stress, and mechanisms of drug action.