"We are delighted to have Dr. Johnston rejoin the Institute to fill
these critical leadership roles," comments Dr. Fauci. "She is a
world-class leader in the field of HIV vaccines who is widely admired
and respected for her knowledge, vision, integrity and many skills.
"Identifying a safe and effective vaccine to prevent HIV/AIDS has been
named by President Clinton as a national goal," adds Dr. Fauci, "and
research directed toward that goal is the highest priority of the NIAID
AIDS program. Dr. Johnston will play a central role in this effort."
As Assistant Director for HIV/AIDS Vaccines, Dr. Johnston will serve as
a liaison between the extramural and intramural HIV/AIDS vaccine
research communities, and ensure an integrated and well-coordinated
program. In this capacity, she will report directly to Dr. Fauci.
In her position in DAIDS, Dr. Johnston will have primary responsibility
for NIAID's extramural research programs focused on HIV/AIDS vaccines,
topical microbicides and other biomedical prevention approaches. She
will facilitate the simultaneous development of multiple promising
vaccine and prevention strategies; remodel and unify NIAID's clinical
vaccine research program; and foster new prevention research activities.
Managing a staff of nearly 30, she will direct the creation and
implementation of an overall HIV/AIDS vaccine and prevention research
agenda, and specific research initiatives to address its needs.
In both positions, Dr. Johnston will work closely with the NIH AIDS
Vaccine Research Committee, headed by David I. Baltimore, Ph.D., and the
NIH Office of AIDS Research, headed by Neal Nathanson, M.D.
In 1996, Dr. Johnston left her position as deputy director of DAIDS to
become scientific director (later vice president for scientific affairs)
of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI). During her time
with IAVI, Dr. Johnston helped it become an internationally renowned
advocacy organization for HIV/AIDS vaccine research and development,
particularly focusing on the needs and concerns of the developing world.
"In charting the organization's scientific course," comments Jack
Killen, M.D., director of DAIDS, "Dr. Johnston established an
international reputation for the clarity and depth of her understanding
of the scientific, sociological, economic and ethical challenges
involved in identifying a safe and effective HIV vaccine.
"Dr. Johnston's experience in promoting the involvement of the
international community, particularly developing countries, in HIV/AIDS
vaccine development will be a tremendous benefit to NIAID," comments Dr.
Killen, "as the Institute opens its first overseas Phase I AIDS vaccine
trial in Uganda this year."
Dr. Johnston received her bachelor's degree from Carnegie Mellon
University in 1972, and her doctorate in biochemistry from Tufts
University in 1979. She spent a year as a postdoctoral associate at the
Rega Institute for Medical Research in Leuven, Belgium, and then
beginning in 1978, spent four years as a fellow at the National
Institutes of Health, in what was then known as the National Institute
of Arthritis, Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases. From 1982-1987,
she was an assistant professor of Biochemistry at the Uniformed Services
University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda. She joined DAIDS (then
the AIDS Program) in 1987, assuming positions of progressively greater
scope and responsibility over the ensuing nine years: 1987-1988, program
officer, Developmental Therapeutics Branch (DTB); 1988-1989, chief,
Targeted Drug Discovery Section of the DTB; 1989-1991, chief, DTB;
1991-1993, associate director, Basic Research and Development Program;
1993-1996, deputy director, DAIDS.
NIAID is a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). NIAID
conducts and supports research to prevent, diagnose and treat illnesses
such as HIV disease and other sexually transmitted diseases,
tuberculosis, malaria, asthma and allergies. NIH is an agency of the
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Press releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are
available via the NIAID Web site at http://www.niaid.nih.gov.