“No matter what you do, you first have to have a vision… to see your goal, to believe in it, have faith in it and chase it. And then it’s fun to chase it. If you don’t have a goal or a vision, then you have nothing.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger
When people are interested in joining the Johnston Lab, Chris will ask “What is your exit strategy? What is your scientific vision for yourself when you leave this lab?”. Because once we figure that out, we can get to work on it.
We continue to be especially proud of the lab alumni who have achieved that vision!
JAVIER FERNANDEZ JUAREZ, PH.D. (NOW ASSISTANT PROFESSOR)
Javier joined our synthetic microbiology initiative as a staff research investigator in late 2016, after completing his postdoctoral research in the Church Lab at Harvard. At the Johnston Lab (Cambridge, MA) he sought to expand our SyngenicDNA platforms and create novel synthetic “kill-switch” circuits for biocontainment of engineered organisms.
He successfully transitioned to St. Johns University in 2019 as an Assistant Professor within the Biological Sciences Department. The new Juarez lab focuses on the construction of whole-cell biosensors that can be applied early detection of pollutants and disease biomarkers. We are super proud of his achievements!
SEAN COTTON, MENG. (NOW STRAIN ENGINEER)
Sean (the first official alumnus of the Johnston lab) spent close to 2 years working with us as a staff scientist, figuring out and single-handedly running our PacBio sequencer, honing his synthetic micro skills, and driving our CRISPR projects forward. He began his new career with Synlogic Therapeutics as a Strain Engineer in 2019! We miss him on the West Coast!
STEPHANY FLORES-RAMOS, BA. (NOW GRADUATE RESEARCHER / PAUL AND DAISY SOROS FELLOW AT UCSD)
Stephany joined as a joint research technician between the Johnston and the Lemon lab at Forsyth Institute. She trained for two years in computational approaches to elucidate the role of Dolosigranulum pigrum as a commensal/health promoting bacterium within the human nasal tract. She performed pan-genomic analysis on nasal isolates and studied its antagonism with Staphylococcus aureus. Steph started grad school enrolled in a Bioinformatics and Systems Biology program at UC San Diego. In 2021 she was awarded The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans! You can read all about Stephany’s continued success here!
We are very proud of her, and super psyched for her first author D. pigrum pangenome paper to (hopefully) come out this year!
ANDY KEMPCHINSKY, BSC. (NOW MSC BIOENG/ RT-II AT FRED HUTCH CANCER RESEARCH CENTER)
Andy joined our lab in Cambridge as a research technician to help out Sean and Arnold with our PacBio SMRTseq efforts. From there he transitioned to a Masters program in Biomedical engineering at Queen Mary University of London in the UK. He studied microbial colonization of plastics and antifouling materials. In 2021, Andy actually joined our collaborator Dr Bullman’s lab right here at Fred Hutch. You wouldn’t know it from his picture, but he is very happy with his new life on the west coast.
VISITING RESEARCH SCHOLARS
HERMOINE JEAN VENTER, PH.D. (UNIVERSITY OF TROMSO)
Hermoine joined the Johnston lab as a visiting postdoctoral researcher from the University of Tromsø in northern Norway. She trained in SyngenicDNA techniques to break through the genetic defenses of Staphylococcus haemolyticus; a commensal of the skin flora that is also an important hospital pathogen and carrier of multi-drug resistance genes. She also won a big hamper of goodies from the Fred Hutch, which was tasty!
Adam is a third year human genetics student who joined the lab in 2021 from Trinity College Dublin as a summer intern where he worked to help characterise innate genetic defense systems from isolates of Fusobacterium nucleatum. Adam has a keen interest in the field of gene therapy particularly in relation to targeting more complex, multifactorial diseases. He hopes to be able to carry out further studies in this area once he graduates in 2022.
Marija is currently pursuing a four-year honors bachelor degree in Human Genetics through Biological and Biomedical degree at Trinity College Dublin. Originally from Latvia, Marija moved to Ireland with a goal to complete an undergraduate and a doctorate degree in genetics and become an active member of the scientific research community. She has a keen interest in medical genetics, epigenetics, immunology and cancer research. Marija strives for knowledge and putting it into practice. In my spare time she enjoys reading books and loves to be active including cycling, hiking and travelling
Forsyth Student Scholars Summer Interns 2018
Deepti Srinivasan Sina Abraham