HSC-COM distinguished professor receives 2006 JoAnn Treat Research Award for Excellence

December 13, 2006

(COLLEGE STATION, TX) — Arthur E. Johnson, Ph.D., distinguished professor of molecular and cellular medicine at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, recently was awarded the 2006 JoAnn Treat Research Award for Excellence from the Texas A&M Research Foundation.

Dr. Johnson holds the Wehner-Welch Foundation Chair in the College of Medicine and also serves on the faculty at Texas A&M University as a distinguished professor of chemistry and professor of biochemistry and biophysics.

Along with the award, Dr. Johnson received $10,000 and a commemorative plaque. He will also have his name inscribed on the JoAnn Treat commemorative glass vase displayed in the Research Foundation lobby.

“So many of the things researchers do are subject to high criticism, such as publications and grants,” Dr. Johnson said. “But, I was really happy to win this award because it is great to get positive reinforcement. And, although I’m the one who gets named, the reason this award came in my direction is because I’ve been able to convince such intelligent people to work in my lab with me.”

The JoAnn Treat Research Award for Excellence was established by the Board of Trustees of the Texas A&M Research Foundation to recognize excellence by a faculty member for his or her accomplishments in research. The award also serves to acknowledge a faculty member’s exceptional contributions that have significantly advanced knowledge in his or her area of research during the past five years. It is bestowed every year to a faculty member whose research is administered through the Texas A&M Research Foundation.

“I’ve been in academic medicine for my entire career,” said Christopher C. Colenda, M.D., M.P.H., Jean and Thomas McMullin Dean of the HSC-COM. “In that time, he is the most distinguished scientist that I have ever met. Receiving the JoAnn Treat Research Award is well deserved, and I anticipate that other significant awards will come Dr. Johnson’s way in the future.”

Dr. Johnson’s research focuses primarily on two different biochemical processes: the movement of proteins through or into a membrane and the creation of holes in mammalian cell membranes by bacterial protein toxins. To understand how these processes are accomplished and regulated at the molecular level,

Dr. Johnson’s lab has employed a variety of biophysical, biochemical and other techniques to examine the interactions and molecular architecture of free and membrane-bound macromolecular complexes, as well as changes in structure that are functionally important.

Dr. Johnson has authored more than 130 full-length scientific publications and received more than $12.1 million in research support from external (non-university) agencies such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF) and American Heart Association. He is currently funded by three NIH grants and will receive an additional $640,000 over five years from a new NSF grant that began Sept. 1.

Dr. Johnson received a B.S. in Chemistry from the California Institute of Technology in 1964 and a Ph.D. in Chemistry at the University of Oregon in 1973. Following postdoctoral research at Columbia University on a Helen Hay Whitney Fellowship, he joined the faculty of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Oklahoma in 1977, where he was named the Grayce B. Kerr Centennial Chair in 1992 before moving to College Station in 1994.

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