Crystal Johnson ~ Cultivating Student Science

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Human Health and the Environment

Dr. Crystal Johnson is a marine microbiologist. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Her research interests focus on molecular environmental microbiology, oceans and human health, and host-pathogen interactions. She is specifically interested in vibrios*, naturally occurring bacteria that are ubiquitous in the ocean and often found in oyster beds. While the vast majority of vibrios are non-pathogenic, several varieties can cause illness ranging from gastrointestinal distress to wound infection.

She is currently examining how pathogenic Vibrio spp. (V. parahaemolyticus, V. vulnificus, and V. cholerae) respond to environmental cues, including sea surface temperature, salinity, chlorophyll, turbidity, suspended particulate matter, and dissolved organic carbon.

Crystal also explores the genetic relationships among pathogenic vibrios. It is this genetic avenue of research that led her to initiate a research project, funded by an NSF rapid response grant, to consider whether and how the abundance of vibrios might change in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Crystal's Research: