Primary Department
School of Nursing, Psychotherapy and Community Health
Academic Staff
Phone number: 01 700
Glasnevin Campus
Room Number

Academic biography

Dr Johnson’s career spans several years of researching in the area of Biomedical Science. Her PhD project explored the underlying immune mechanisms involved in the development of immune pathologies associated with primary and secondary vasculitis (published manuscripts: Clin Exp Immunol 1997; 108:234-242. Clin Exp Immunol 1997; 111:98-105). Owing to her contributions to this area, she was commissioned to carry out a review of associated patent literature and intellectual property (ExpOpin in Therapeutic Patents. 2002 12 (10) 1517-1525.) and to present an educational article for Nature Encyclopaedia of Life Sciences. (Nature Publishing Group. 2003). Dr Johnson continued to work post-doctorally in the area of Biomedical Science contributing to an EU project with Professor Kingston Mills, (TCD, formerly NUIM) on DNA vaccines against influenza virus. (J of Gen Virol 2000, 81;1737-1745). These studies occasioned further investigations on the immunomodulation associated with mixed infections (J Infect Dis 2000 182(4):1286-9). Success with DNA vaccine studies led to further funding from Glaxo Smithkline, to investigate DNA vaccine constructs encoding surface glycoproteins from HIV (J of Clin Virol. 2000 18:303 and Vaccine 2005 Jan 4;23(7):963-74). On completion her postdoctoral study she established her own research team, the Viral Immunology Group (VIG), at the Institute of Immunology, NUIM, under the PPRTLI programme. Her research team identified a novel immune-modulation mechanism associated with influenza virus (J. Gen Virol 2005, 86, 1885-90). She then secured funding from the EU to develop a novel vaccine construct against childhood respiratory diseases, leading to published studies;- J. Leuk Biol 2007 Apr;81(4):952-6; J Virol. 2008 82(9299-302). In May 2005 Dr Johnson moved to a tenured position in DCU and continued to grow her research laboratory. She has since secured funding from the Wellcome Trust, HRB, IRCSET, EI and MUH with several published, in submission or submission-ready manuscripts from these projects (Drug Discovery Today-DM 2010; 6(4): 107-112; Br J Anaesth. 2014 113 Suppl 1:i56-62, BJA ms no#-2013-01344: In submission JI-CE 13-03246: Submission ready JCI, JCV). Dr Johnson has also presented her findings at many national and international meetings and has participated in numerous research-support roles; She has acted as expert reviewer for the EU 5th  Framework Control of Infectious Disease Programme and has attended and reviewed two mid-term EU 5th  framework progress meetings at Epalinges University Campus Lausanne, and the Istituto Superiore di SanitĂ , Rome. She have also organized and hosted and 5th & 6th  EU framework meetings and served as coordinator for the joint ISI/UIG Annual Meeting at NUIM and ISI annual meeting held in DCU. Dr Johnson has successfully supervised three PhD students to completion directly under her supervision. All of her students have presented their findings at international meetings and have published their findings in peer reviewed medium to high impact journals in the field. Dr Johnson has also acted as research supervisor to a successful MD candidate and is currently supervising an additional PhD candidate and postgraduate Erasmus Training Programme student. In addition, she has supervised numerous undergraduate and short research projects students (> 25) in both DCU and NUIM.

Research interests

Viral Immunology particularly immune responses associated with respiratory viruses such as Human Parainfluenza Virus (HPIV), Influenza, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and Rhino Virus (RV). Viral subversion of immune responses and the induction of immune regulation. Role of anti-viral immune responses in the development of associated secondary conditions such as bacterial superinfections and asthma. Development of human cellular model systems to predict immune responses to viruses, viral vaccines and other therapeutic interventions.