Prof. Dr. Kai Johnsson

Department of Chemical Biology
Max-Planck-Institute for Medical Research
69120 Heidelberg, Germany

Phone: 06221 486-400


Chemical Biology, Fluorescent probes


2021 Hansen Family Award in Medical Sciences
2019 Elected Member of the Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften
2016 Karl Heinz Beckurts-Preis
2015 AbbVie Lecture, UC Berkeley
2013 Elected Member of EMBO
2012-2013 Novartis Lectureship Award
2011 Amgen Lecture, UC Berkeley
2003 Prix APLE for the invention of the year 2003 of EPFL Lausanne
2017-present Director, Max-Planck-Institute for Medical Research, Department of Chemical Biology, Heidelberg, Germany
2018-present Affiliated Professor, Institute of Chemical Sciences and Engineering, EPFL Lausanne, Switzerland
2009-2017 Full Professor, Institute of Chemical Sciences and Engineering, EPFL Lausanne, Switzerland
2005-2009 Associate Professor, Institute of Chemical Sciences and Engineering, EPFL Lausanne
1999-2005 Assistant Professor, Institute of Chemical Sciences and Engineering, EPFL Lausanne
1996-1999 Independent Researcher, Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany
1993-1996 Postdoctoral fellow, Department of Chemistry, UC Berkeley, USA
2021-present Executive Editor of Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS)
2015-2021 Scientific Advisory Commission of EMBL
2014-2017 Scientific Advisory Board, Quartet Medicines, Boston, USA
2012-2020 Editorial Advisory Board of Science
2012-2017 Member of the school-wide tenure committee of EPFL
2010-2017 Co-Director of the Swiss-wide research program NCCR Chemical Biology
2009-2015 Member of the steering committee of Institute of Chemical Sciences, EPFL
2006-present Editorial Board  of Chemistry&Biology, ChemBioChem, Chemical Society Reviews
2005-2020 Associate Editor of ACS Chemical Biology
2003-2010 Board of Directors, Covalys Biosciences, Switzerland

Wang, L.; Tran, M.; D’Este, E.; Roberti, J.; Koch, B.; Xue, L.; Johnsson, K. (2020). A general strategy to develop cell permeable and fluorogenic probes for multicolour nanoscopy (2020). Nature Chemistry 12 (2), 165-172.

Farrants, H.; Tarnawski, M.; Muller, T. G.; Otsuka, S.; Hiblot, J.; Koch, B.; Kueblbeck, M.; Krausslich, H. G.; Ellenberg, J.; Johnsson, K. (2020). Chemogenetic Control of Nanobodies.  Nat Methods 17 (3), 279-282.

Yu, Q.; Xue, L.; Hiblot, J.; Griss, R.; Fabritz, S.; Roux, C.; Binz, P. A.; Haas, D.; Okun, J. G.; Johnsson, K. (2018). Semisynthetic sensor proteins enable metabolic assays at the point of care. Science 361, 1122-1126

Lukinavicius, G.; Reymond, L.; D’Este, E.; Masharina, A.; Gottfert, F.; Ta, H.; Guther, A.; Fournier, M.; Rizzo, S.; Waldmann, H.; Blaukopf, C.; Sommer, C.; Gerlich, D. W.; Arndt, H. D.; Hell, S. W.; Johnsson, K. (2014). Fluorogenic probes for live-cell imaging of the cytoskeleton. Nature Methods 11, 731

Haruki, H.; Pedersen, M. G.; Gorska, K. I.; Pojer, F.; Johnsson, K. (2013). Tetrahydrobiopterin biosynthesis as an off-target of sulfa drugs. Science 340, 987

Lukinavicius, G.; Umezawa, K.; Olivier, N.; Honigmann, A.; Yang, G.; Plass, T.; Mueller, V.; Reymond, L.; Correa, I. R., Jr.; Luo, Z. G.; Schultz, C.; Lemke, E. A.; Heppenstall, P.; Eggeling, C.; Manley, S.; Johnsson, K. (2013). A near-infrared fluorophore for live-cell super-resolution microscopy of cellular proteins. Nature Chemistry 5, 132

Gautier, A.; Juillerat, A.; Heinis, C.; Correa, I. R.; Kindermann, M.; Beaufils, F.; Johnsson, K. (2008). An engineered protein tag for multiprotein labeling in living cells. Chem&Biol 15, 128

George, N.; Pick, H.; Vogel, H.; Johnsson, N.; Johnsson, K. (2004). Specific labeling of cell surface proteins with chemically diverse compounds.  J Am Chem Soc 126, 8896

Keppler, A.; Pick, H.; Arrivoli, C.; Vogel, H.; Johnsson, K.  (2004). Labeling of fusion proteins with synthetic fluorophores in live cells. P Natl Acad Sci USA 101, 9955

Keppler, A.; Gendreizig, S.; Gronemeyer, T.; Pick, H.; Vogel, H.; Johnsson, K. (2003). A general method for the covalent labeling of fusion proteins with small molecules in vivo. Nat Biotechnol 21, 86

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