Dr. Natalie Johnson, is an associate professor in the Texas A&M School of Public Health and the co-director of the Program on Asthma and Research Education at Texas A&M. Although Dr. Johnson was not always certain she would become a research scientist, once she began exploring her academic interests at Texas A&M as an undergraduate, her path became clear. Her current research interests include air pollution exposure, particularly maternal and child exposure.
Dr. Johnson decided to start exploring the effect of pollution exposure on lung development in her laboratory in College Station. She and her doctoral student, Ms. Kristal Rychlik, created a model to understand the mechanisms of pollution-induced respiratory disease. They found that animal models exposed to urban air pollution during prenatal development could not mount the same immune response as a non-exposed individual when challenged with an allergen. This showed the researchers that early-life exposure could lead to decreased immune function later in life.
Dr. Johnson has received a five-year research grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) to continue her research on early life pollution exposure and respiratory infections.
Learn more about Dr. Johnson’s journey from a small-town upbringing to building a research program at Texas A&M.Tags: Friday Letter Submission, Publish on November 29