Stephen Johnston

Biodesign IM
University Club
University Club

Location: TEMPE

Contact Information
(480) 727-0792


PhD Genetics and Plant Genetics/Plant Breeding, University of Wisconsin-Madison 1981


Stephen Johnston is currently the director for the Center for Innovations in Medicine (CIM) at The Biodesign Institute and a professor in the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University. 

The center and Professor Johnston's current work focuses on innovative solutions to fundamental problems in biomedicine. The center is unique in that it has brought together a group of interdisciplinary scientists who first identify a problem, analyze the physical economy basis of the related issues and then come up with an inventive solution. 

Current major projects are 1) cancer eradication: The focus is on developing a universal, preventative cancer vaccine, 2) health futures: The aim is to produce a diagnostic system that allows continuous monitoring of the health status of healthy people - helping in the revolution to pre-symptomatic medicine, as well as the ability to diagnose disease or infection.

Professor Johnston has experience in basic science, notably first cloning the Gal4 gene, showing that proteins have separable functional domains, and discovering the AAA proteins and their role in transcription. His focus now is in translational sciences and technology development. He was co-inventor/innovator of pathogen derived resistance, organelle transformation, the gene gun, genetic immunization, TEV protease system, expression library immunization, linear expression elements, synbodies and immunosignaturing. He is author of over 150 journal articles, has over 20 patents, and has garnered approximately $85M in grant support including large programs from DARPA, NIAID and NHLBI.