65th Annual Faculty Research Lecture in Basic Science
Awarded to Alexander (Sandy) Johnson, PhD
The Academic Senate is pleased to announce the selection of Alexander (Sandy) Johnson, PhD, as recipient of the Sixty Fifth Annual Faculty Research Lectureship in Basic Science for his work on the evolutionary mechanisms in gene regulation. The lecture, titled “Why Things Are the Way They Are in Biology: A Molecular Biologist Grapples with Evolution” will take place on Thursday, April 20, 2023, from 3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. in Byers Auditorium at Mission Bay Campus, with a reception to follow. There will also be a Zoom broadcast.
Lecture Title: Why Things Are the Way They Are in Biology: A Molecular Biologist Grapples with Evolution
Date/Time: Thursday, April 20, 2023, at 3:30-5:00 pm
Zoom: Byer's Auditorium and Zoom
UCSF Events Calendar: 65th Faculty Research Lecture in Basic Science Event
Dr. Johnson is an exceptional scientist who has made fundamental contributions to our understanding of gene regulation through his elegant studies of transcription control. His research focuses on the fundamental problem of how gene expression is controlled by specific gene regulatory proteins. Dr. Johnson produced an outstanding body of work that built the foundation for the current understanding of gene regulation, and his research program remains at the forefront of the field. His lab investigated the paths taken by evolution to rearrange transcriptional programs using yeasts as model systems and significantly contributed to the understanding of the pathogenic yeast Candida albicans survives in the human host and cause disease.
Dr. Johnson is nationally and internationally recognized for his research contributions. He received the Hansen Award in Microbiology and is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in 2011. Notably, he served as Chair of Section 26 (Genetics) of the NAS from 2019-2022, in addition to receiving many other awards and honors. He has been the director of the Program in Biological Sciences (PIBS) at UCSF since 2013 and was director of the Tetrad Graduate Program at UCSF from 2005-2012. Dr. Johnson is a co-author of the textbook Molecular Biology of the Cell, a leading textbook on the subject, used by universities around the world.
Dr. Johnson is also a well-regarded mentor; for decades he attracted many of the best students to the Tetrad graduate program at UCSF. He established a laboratory culture in which students thrive and make great discoveries. Dr. Johnson has mentored 35 PhD students and 25 postdoctoral fellows; three of his graduate students received Harold M. Weintraub Awards recognizing outstanding achievement in the biological sciences. His past trainees have all gone on to careers in science, with a large fraction populating the faculty of universities around the country.
Dr. Johnson is a professor and vice chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and has a joint appointment in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics in the School of Medicine at UCSF. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Molecular Biology from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. He received his PhD in Biochemistry from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts and was a Postdoctoral Fellow in Molecular Biology at the University of California, San Francisco.
In his 35 years as a respected faculty member at UCSF, Dr. Johnson has been one of the pillars of the UCSF research and teaching community and built the foundation for the current understanding of gene regulation. We look forward to hearing his inspirational description of his approach to science.
The Sixty Fifth Annual Faculty Research Lecture in Basic Science will be held on Thursday, April 20, 2022, from 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. in Byers Auditorium at the UCSF Mission Bay Campus with a Zoom broadcast.
Since 1957, this award has been bestowed on an individual member of the UCSF faculty who has made a distinguished record in basic science. Nominations are made by UCSF faculty, who consider scientific research contributions of their colleagues and submit nominations for this prestigious award to the Academic Senate Committee on Research. Each year, the Committee on Research selects the recipient of this award.