Dr Jill Johnson is a Lecturer and Principal Investigator at Aston University in Birmingham, UK. Dr Johnson’s current research interests focus on the role of pericytes in chronic lung disease, specifically investigating the progenitor cell capacity of these cells and their ability to contribute to the pathogenesis of pulmonary fibrosis
Dr Johnson received her PhD in 2007 from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada with a focus on the biology of allergic asthma. She subsequently moved to the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr Jonas Fuxe to perform studies on the transcriptional regulation of epithelial-mesenchymal transition in cancer and allergic asthma. Dr Johnson then took up a second postdoctoral fellowship carried out in the laboratory of Prof Qutayba Hamid at the Meakins-Christie Laboratories at McGill University in Montréal, Québec, Canada to investigate epithelial-mesenchymal transition in primary bronchial epithelial cells derived from healthy subjects and severe asthmatics. Dr Johnson then held a Research Fellow position at Imperial College London from December 2011 to April 2016 in the Leukocyte Biology section of the National Heart and Lung Institute, Faculty of Medicine where she began studying the role of tissue-resident mesenchymal progenitor cells (pericytes) in driving lung fibrosis.
Other activities include working as a freelance proofreader, teaching immunology at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and performing peer reviews for a number of journals in the respiratory field and in general biological sciences. Jill has organised and taken part in an number of public engagement events such as Science Uncovered at the Natural History Museum, MRC Centenary events at the Science Museum and Southbank Observation Point, and Synapse with Girlguiding, and is a member of ScienceGrrl, a grassroots organisation celebrating and supporting women in science.