Assistant Professor of Immunobiology, The University of Arizona
2018 Speaker

Tucson, Arizona

Michael Johnson is an African-American male from inner city Chicago (South Side). He grew up in a single-parent home and was fortunate enough to have a very loving mother. Johnson received a BA in music from Duke University and “smoothly” transitioned to obtaining his PhD in biochemistry and biophysics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After completing his dissertation in bacterial motility and attachment, he went to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in the department of infectious diseases to study how bacteria process nutrients, specifically metals (the items at the end of your vitamin ingredient list), during bacterial infections. He then worked in the department of immunology studying newly discovered ways of how the body eliminates harmful pathogens.

Currently Johnson is an assistant professor at the University of Arizona in the department of immunobiology, where he studies how bacteria use metal, specifically copper, which is toxic to many pathogenic organisms. He hopes to use copper as a new strategy to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Thus far, he has obtained major funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Western Alliance to Expand Student Opportunities, and the University of Arizona Health Science Center.  

He is married with two wonderful daughters, and he loves what he does.