As vice president and director of research at amfAR, Rowena Johnston is responsible for overseeing the Foundation’s pioneering research program. Her responsibilities include determining the Foundation’s research priorities, evaluating and analyzing the program’s direction, and serving as a liaison between the scientific community and other communities. She ensures that amfAR’s research priorities drive and reflect the most promising scientific breakthroughs, and align with the Foundation’s mission to end the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
In 2010 Dr. Johnston was instrumental in forming the amfAR Research Consortium on HIV Eradication (ARCHE). She directs the research focus of the Consortium and ensures collaboration between ARCHE grantees. She also oversees amfAR’s other cure research initiatives, as well as the Foundation’s program to support young researchers.
In addition to her Foundation work, Dr. Johnston serves on a number of HIV-related advisory committees and as an ad hoc reviewer for numerous journals and conferences. She continues to publish scientific papers, and has been an invited speaker at educational institutions around the country as well as at international conferences. She regularly speaks to the press about emerging research findings.
Dr. Johnston received her Ph.D. in psychology (biopsychology) in 1998 from the University of Michigan. From 1997 to 1998 she was a postdoctoral fellow in the department of neurology at Emory University, and from 1998 to 2001, she was a visiting research fellow at the cellular neurology branch of the National Institute on Drug Abuse in Baltimore, Maryland. Prior to joining amfAR in September 2001, Dr. Johnston was scientific advisor at the Michael J. Fox Foundation/Parkinson’s Action Network.