Public Release: 

SURA honors Florida pharmacy dean as distinguished scientist

Southeastern Universities Research Association

SURA today announced that Julie A. Johnson, Dean and Distinguished Professor at the University of Florida's College of Pharmacy, will receive its 2015 SURA Distinguished Scientist Award.

The annual honor goes to a research scientist whose extraordinary work fulfills the SURA mission to "strengthen the scientific capabilities of its members and our nation." The award and its $10,000 honorarium will be presented to Dr. Johnson on April 29, in conjunction with the SURA Board of Trustees meeting being held at the University of Georgia in Athens.

"Dr. Johnson's work and research deserve particular acknowledgement, but her collaborative leadership and commitment to excellence bring added stature to her career and merit for this award. We look forward to celebrating her substantial contributions to the noble pursuit of research in the field of pharmacy next month," said Gordon Gee, President of West Virginia University and Chair of the SURA Council of Presidents.

In his letter of nomination, David Norton, UFL Vice President of Research and SURA Trustee, wrote "Dr. Johnson's research has impacted the lives of millions of patients who take warfarin, has led to substantial advances in our understanding of antihypertensive and other cardiovascular drugs, and her current focus in genomic medicine implementation will help move future care of patients to an approach that is personalized based on their unique genetic information." He added that, "she also has a substantial record of national and international leadership and a commitment to ensuring the next generation of clinical pharmaceutical scientists."

Johnson received her B.S. in Pharmacy from the Ohio State University and her Pharm.D. from the University of Texas at Austin and the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship in cardiovascular pharmacology/ pharmacokinetics at Ohio State.

Johnson's research focuses on cardiovascular pharmacogenomics and genomic medicine. She leads a hypertension pharmacogenomics research group, funded under the NIH Pharmacogenomics Research Network, and another NIH-funded group in genomic medicine implementation that is part of the NIH IGNITE network. She is an internationally-recognized leader in the field of cardiovascular pharmacogenomics and genomic medicine, with over 220 peer reviewed publications and over $35M in research funding as the principal investigator.

In 2013, Johnson was part of a collaborative teams that discovered a way to make a blood thinner safer for about 40 percent of African-Americans taking the drug by linking a gene variation to the dosage. Dr. Johnson leads this ongoing collaborative work by 42 researchers from 17 institutions in the International Warfarin Pharmacogenetics Consortium.

Johnson has served in advisory capacities with the FDA and NIH, as well as leadership roles in the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP), the American Heart Association (AHA), and the American Society of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, for which she just become president-elect this month. She is an elected fellow of the ACCP, the AHA and the American College of Clinical Pharmacology.

Johnson said the award is especially meaningful because it comes from a group whose member institutions are involved in many different kinds of scientific research. "It's a huge honor because it's one that comes from outside the biomedical field and a broad-based award that included nominees from many scientific disciplines. My hope is that this shines a really positive light on the university and the opportunities that UF created for me," she said.

Dr. Johnson was elected to the Institute of Medicine in 2014 and has received numerous other awards including teaching awards from both the University of Tennessee (1996) and the University of Florida (2001); the Ohio State University Alumni Association William Oxley Thompson Award for early career achievement (1997), the Leon I Goldberg Young Investigator Award from the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics (2004), Paul Dawson Biotechnology Research Award, American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (2007), the Therapeutic Frontiers Award (2009) and the Russell R Miller Award for Contributions to the Literature (2010), both from the American College of Clinical Pharmacy; among others.

The SURA Distinguished Scientist Award was established in 2007, commemorating the organization's 25th Anniversary. SURA's Development & Relations Committee manages the solicitation, screening and selection of the recipient from a SURA member institution. The president and trustee of each of SURA's 62 member research universities is eligible to make one nomination for the Distinguished Scientist Award.

The award and honorarium will be presented to Dr. Johnson during the morning session of the board meeting in Athens on April 29.

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The Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA) is a consortium of over 60 leading research institutions in the southern United States and the District of Columbia established in 1980 as a non-stock, nonprofit corporation. SURA serves as an entity through which colleges, universities, and other organizations may cooperate with one another, and with government and industry in acquiring, developing, and using laboratories and other research facilities and in furthering knowledge and the application of that knowledge in the physical, biological, and other natural sciences and engineering. For more information, visit http://www.sura.org.

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