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              Birmingham Zoo
Welcome to
David A
                  Johnson's HOME PAGE
About Me:
I am David A. Johnson, professor of biology at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. I teach Genetics, Cell & Molecular Biology, and Experimental Genetics, where we do a variety of genetics exercises from fruit fly crosses to human karyotyping to gene cloning and sequencing.

I entered Samford in 1967 as a freshman, meaning that I came to Samford earlier than any current faculty members. However, I am also somewhat of a newcomers, since I became a full time faculty member in the fall of 2008.

Department of Biological & Environmental Sciences

Before coming to Samford, I was a professor of biology at Seinan Gakuin University in Fukuoka, Japan. Fukuoka is on Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan's four major islands. Our family went to Japan as missionaries with the Japan Baptist Mission (of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention of the USA) in 1987. We resigned as IMB Missionaries early in 2003. However, we continued our missionary work in Fukuoka as independent missionaries with the support of several Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) churches. Seinan, where I was teaching when employed as a Southern Baptist Missionary, hired me as a professor of biology (genetics) in March of 2003 making it possible for us to stay in Japan 5 more years.

Before going to Japan, I taught in the Biology Department of Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota for 10 years. During furloughs I also taught in the Biology Departments of Samford (1991-92 and 1996-97) and William Jewell College (2001-02) in Liberty, MO. I also did sabbatical research at William Jewell under the direction of Dr. Dan Heruth studying endosymbiotic bacteria of Paramecium. I received a B.S. and M.S. in Biology from Samford (1971, 1973) and a Ph. D. in Genetics from Emory University (1977) in Atlanta, GA. My wife, Robin, and I lived in Fukuoka from January 1989 through July 2008. We have two grown children who basically grew up in Japan. Our daughter, Jenni Haaser, along with her husband, Joel, our grandson, Jonah, and our granddaughter, Emory, live in Jenks, OK. Our son, Wesley, with Ph. D from the University of Hawaii, Manoa in music composition in hand, has started a position at Sultan Idris University of Education in Tanjung Malim, Malaysia, just north of Kuala Lumpur.

Jessica Van Ausdall isolating ciliates Paramecium multimicronucleatum
                    from Shades Creek Lexi Fitch and
                    your truly collecting Gulf water samples Electrophoresis Gel
Below is a movie of Paramecium multimicronucleatum isolated from Shades Creek across from Samford. (If it doesn't show up, try clicking here for the Windows Media movie. Also, a larger QuickTime® movie is here. ) They are conjugating!

In the past, my research interests have been in various fields of genetics and molecular biology, ranging from Drosophila genetics to molecular characterization of whale meat sold on the Japanese market. Since coming to Samford I have worked with student researchers on projects dealing with molecular characterization of gene duplications in Drosophila, of local wild fresh-water ciliate communities (Paramecium and their relatives) and their symbionts, of ciliates in waters affected by the Gulf Oil Spill, a potential honeybee parasite, and recently the invasive Kudzu Bug (Megacopta cribraria) and its diet.

My REU student from 2013, Riley Lovejoy, and I just published our Kudzu Bug results in the Southeastern Naturalist:

Kudzu Bug Article

Click on the thumbnails below for more information about other projects. (The top three were presented at the 2013 Alabama Academy of Science meeting at Samford. If you are interested in discussing research projects, please drop me an e-mail.

Gulf Oil Spill
                    Ciliates Poster: Caffy, Fitch, and Aycock

Other Links:
Genetics News
Click here for some recent developments in genetics and molecular biology.
DNA Replication Animated GIF
I've been playing around with making animated GIFs. This one illustrates the continuous/discontinuous nature of DNA replication.
The magnitude 7.0 quake Robin and I experienced.
In the early morning of January 17, 1995, Kobe was hit with a magnitude 7.2 earthquake, killing over 6000 people. We had a particular interest, since our son, Wesley was there at Canadian Academy as a 9th grade boarding student. This link includes photos of Kobe and a brief lesson in earthquake damage causes.
"What DNA Can Tell Us" presentation

Click for Birmingham, Alabama Forecast David A. Johnson, Ph. D.
Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Samford University
800 Lakeshore Drive
Birmingham, Alabama 35229

Office Phone: 205-726-2845