Biology professor consults with faculty from other schools about collaborative research

Oct 17, 2013

Steve Johnston, North Central College Roger and Nadeane Hruby Professor in the Liberal Arts and Sciences and professor of biology, participated in a National Science Foundation-funded workshop titled "Establishing and Expanding Teaching-Research Networks."

Held Oct. 10-12 at Birmingham-Southern College in Birmingham, Ala., the workshop brought together several small teams of faculty from primarily undergraduate institutions. Members of each team had a shared research interest, such as environmental chemistry, anticancer ruthenium complexes, plant-insect interations, analysis of archaeological artifacts and orphan genes. While participants explored whether their research topic might be integrated into undergraduate coursework, facilitators helped identify and investigate opportunities for interdisciplinary and inter-institutional collaboration.

Johnston was part of a faculty team that conducts research in yeast. Members discussed ways to collaborate on larger-scale projects to benefit their collective students. Johnston noted, "We examined how we can work together to discover the function of 'orphan genes,' which have been identified by DNA sequencing but their functions aren't known."

Johnston joined North Central's faculty in 1999. He holds a B.S. and M.S. from Iowa State University and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin.