B.S., Xavier University; Ph.D., University of Cincinnati



Structural Biology, Science Writing



I’m a biophysical chemist who studies the structure of proteins. Proteins are large biological molecules with lots of moving parts. I use computer simulations to better understand how protein motions contribute to the stability and function of these molecules. I’m especially interested in how protein motions change upon binding to drugs and other small molecules. My research has been published in high-quality journals, including the Journal of the American Chemical Society and the Journal of Molecular Biology. I teach General Chemistry, which is an entry-level course for students from lots of different departments, and Physical Chemistry, which is a course for junior and senior chemistry majors. When not in the classroom or in the lab, I enjoy jogging, playing the piano, and writing about science. My book Anxiety and the Equation is available from The MIT Press.


Books and Articles:

  • Thapa, M., Johnson, E., Rance, M. (2019) Effect of monovalent ion binding on molecular dynamics of the S100-family calcium-binding protein calbindin D9k. Journal of Computational Chemistry 40, 1936-1945.
  • Johnson, E. The Perils of Being Paul Ehrenfest, a Forgotten Physicist and Peerless Mentor, MIT Press Reader, July 1, 2019.
  • Johnson, Eric. 2018. Anxiety and the Equation: Understanding Boltzmann’s Entropy. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
  • Johnson, E. (2012) Separability between overall and internal motion: A protein folding problem. Proteins: Structure, Function, and Bioinformatics 80, 2645-2651.
  • Salinas, R.K., Bruschweiler-Li, L., Johnson, E., Brüschweiler, R. (2011) Ca2+ binding alters the interdomain flexibility between the two cytoplasmic calcium-binding domains in the Na+/Ca2+ exchanger. Journal of Biological Chemistry 286, 32123-32131.
  • Johnson, E. (2011) NMR Order Parameters Calculated in an Expanding Reference Frame: Identifying Sites of Short- and Long-Range Motion. Journal of Biomolecular NMR 50, 59-70.
  • Showalter, S.A., Bruschweiler-Li, L., Johnson, E., Zhang, F., Brüschweiler, R. (2008) Quantitative Lid Dynamics of MDM2 Reveals Differential Ligand Binding Modes of the p53-Binding Cleft. Journal of the American Chemical Society 130, 6472-6478.
  • Johnson, E., Showalter, S.A., Brüschweiler, R. (2008) A Multifaceted Approach to the Interpretation of NMR Order Parameters: A Case Study of a Dynamic a-Helix. Journal of Physical Chemistry B . 112, 6203-6210 (special issue honoring Attila Szabo).
  • Johnson, E., Bruschweiler-Li, L., Showalter, S.A., Vuister, G.W., Zhang, F., Brüschweiler, R. (2008) Structure and Dynamics of Ca2+-Binding Domain 1 of the Na+/Ca2+ Exchanger in the Presence and Absence of Ca2+. Journal of Molecular Biology 377, 945-955.
  • Showalter, S.A., Johnson, E., Rance, M., Brüschweiler, R. (2007) Toward Quantitative Interpretation of Methyl Side-Chain Dynamics from NMR by Molecular Dynamics Simulations. Journal of the American Chemical Society 129, 14146-14147.
  • Johnson, E., Palmer, A.G., Rance, M. (2007) Temperature Dependence of the NMR Generalized Order Parameter. Proteins: Structure, Function, and Bioinformatics 66, 796-803.
  • Johnson, E., Chazin, W.J., Rance, M. (2006) Effects of Calcium Binding on the Side-Chain Methyl Dynamics of Calbindin D9k: A 2H NMR Relaxation Study. Journal of Molecular Biology 357, 1237-1252.
  • Massi, F., Johnson, E., Wang, C., Rance, M., Palmer, A.G. (2004) NMR R1r Rotating-Frame Relaxation with Weak Radio Frequency Fields. Journal of the American Chemical Society 126, 2247-2256.
  • Wesolowski, S.S., Johnson, E.M., Leininger, M.L., Crawford, T.D., Schaefer, H.F. (1998) Definitive Ab Initio Structure for the X2A¢H2PO Radical and Resolution of the P-O Stretching Mode Assignment. Journal of Chemical Physics 109, 2694-2699.