Developmental and Stem Cell Biology Divison
Dr. Johnson’s interdisciplinary research laboratory specializes in the design, manufacturing, automation and testing of human derived models of development and disease to study intercellular signaling. Johnson Lab employs digital manufacturing (CNC machining) to construct biomimetic microenvironments that recapitulate intercellular signaling in development and disease. Current research directions include 1) identifying the potential for chemical mixtures to disrupt epithelial: mesenchymal signaling in orofacial development leading to cleft lip/palate 2) developing high-throughput multicellular models of breast and prostate cancers to identify mechanisms of treatment resistance and uncover therapeutic targets in the cancer microenvironment 3) using multicellular models of the hypothalamic: pituitary: thyroid axis to inform computational modeling of thyroid homeostasis and perturbation by chemical insults. The lab’s translational research goals are to develop strategies and enabling technologies that increase precision in the treatment of disease and to identify chemical exposures that lead to birth defects in vulnerable populations.