Alumni Profile: Gerald (Gerry) Johnston

Gerald (Gerry) Johnston, PhD


BSc Biology ‘70

Professor of Microbiology & Immunology

Dalhousie Medical School

Dr. Johnston has a strong track record in Canada as a cancer scientist with a national and international reputation for high quality work, innovative thinking, collaboration and leadership. He was among the first researchers in Canada to use yeast genetics to explore processes that underlie the development of human disease including cancer. His research uses molecular genetics to investigate highly-conserved cellular processes such as cell proliferation and membrane trafficking.

Dr. Johnston obtained his PhD at York University with Dr. Elizabeth Young, and received his early training in yeast genetics with Dr. Leland H. Hartwell (Genetics Department, University of Washington, Seattle).

Dr. Johnston was appointed Terry Fox Cancer Research Scientist of the National Cancer Institute of Canada (NCIC) in 1992. He has been awarded the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal and was inducted as a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

In his current position he has held major academic leadership roles: locally as Department Head followed by Associate Dean, Research; nationally within organizations such as the NCIC, eventually serving as NCIC President, the Terry Fox Research Institute, Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Canada Research Chairs program.