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2004 Sontag Award Recipient

“During the course of one's life, there are those we meet who bend the arc of our lives for the better. Rick Sontag is one of those people. When I think of how you have changed the course of my own life and I see how you work diligently to replicate this in the lives of countless others, I am inspired to follow your example. Thank you for your support."

About DSA-Funded Research

Dr. Johnson's laboratory has focused on understanding mechanisms of programmed cell death occurring in the nervous system after injury, in oncogenesis and in neurodegenerative disorders. His research combines mRNA microarray and mass spectrometry proteomics with other cell and molecular biology techniques to examine cell death pathways activated by various forms of injury in mouse neurons or glia, or in primary human glioma cells. Once identified, proteins essential to injury-mediated programmed cell death are investigated further to elucidate their function. A better understanding of these cell death mechanisms may lead to the development of more effective therapies for the treatment of brain tumors or nervous system injury.

Current Appointment(s)
  • Chair, Department of Neurological Surgery, UMass Memorial Health
  • Maroun Semaan Chair and Professor of Neurological Surgery, UMass Chan Medical School
  • Senior consulting vice provost for mentorship, leadership, and transformation, UMass Chan Medical School
  • Amherst College, B.A., Chemistry
  • Harvard Medical School, M.D. & Ph.D., Medicine, Neurobiology
  • University of Washington, Seattle, Resident, Neurological Surgery
  • University of Washington, Seattle, Postdoctoral Fellow, Neuronal Apoptosis