Dr Donna Johnson, Course Director

Dr Donna Johnson

Course Director

Donna is the Course Director for the MSc courses in Biomedical Sciences.

Her background has predominantly been in molecular biology, using PCR-based techniques to investigate the role of epigenetic control in the development of antimicrobial resistance.

Donna's current research interests are focused on the use of miRNA as biomarkers of infectious disease.

Current Teaching

  • Level 4 Genetics
  • Level 6 Biotechnology
  • Level 7 Preparation for the MSc Research Project
  • Level 7 Advanced Medical Genetics
  • Level 7 Extended Lab Week
  • BSc and MSc research project supervision

Research Interests

The effect of host miRNAs on pathogens is diverse, both promoting infection and having a protective effect, likely dependent on the specific miRNA species involved and the originating host cell type/microenvironment. Studies have focused on the use of plasma/serum miRNA as a diagnostic biomarker of infectious diseases, such as TB and viral hepatitis, and as a diagnostic/prognostic indicator of the consequences of infectious disease such as sepsis, indicating the potential utility of these molecules. However, there are few studies that have looked at PMP miRNA as biomarkers in infectious disease.

In collaboration with Dr Wayne Roberts, Donna has a current PhD student investigating the the utility of PMPs and their miRNA content as biomarkers of infectious disease. Initially, this project will focus on characterising the interaction between bacteria and PMPs and then use next generation sequencing techniques to determine the miRNA profile in response to bacterial exposure.

Dr Donna Johnson, Course Director

Ask Me About

  1. Biomedical Sciences

Selected Outputs

  • Johnson D; Walmsley R (2008) Effect of mutated response elements on GADD45a. In: UK Mutagenesis Society, Newcastle.

  • Sinclair LA; Mackenzie AM; Johnson DL; Hart KJ (2013) Effect of inorganic or organic copper fed without or with added sulfur and molybdenum on the performance, milk fatty acid profile, indicators of copper status and hepatic mRNA in dairy cows. Journal of Dairy Science, 96 (7),


  • Johnson DL; Walmsley R (2013) Histone-deacetylase inhibitors produce positive results in the GADD45a-GFP GreenScreen HC assay. Mutation Research/Genetic Toxicology and Environmental Mutagenesis, 751 (2), pp. 96-100.


  • Johnson DL; Hastwell P; Walmsley R (2013) The Involvement of WT1 in the Regulation of GADD45a in Response to Genotoxic Stress. Mutagenesis, 28 (4), pp. 393-399.