2012 AGRO Division Fellow – John Johnston

John JohnstonDr. John J. Johnston received his B.S. in Food Science from Rutgers University (1979) and his Ph.D. in Food Toxicology from the University of Florida (1986). After a post-doc with the world-renowned Dr. John Casida in the Pesticide Chemistry and Toxicology Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley (1986-1987), he joined the Chevron Chemical Company as Metabolism, Environmental Fate, and Residue Chemistry Study Director. His distinguished career in public service began in 1991 when he joined the USDA, Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) in Alameda, California as a Mass Spectrometry Specialist.

He then served as Chemistry Project Leader at USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, National Wildlife Research Center in Fort Collins Colorado(1994-2008). During this time he also earned an M.B.A. from Colorado State University. Dr. Johnson returned to FSIS as Senior Risk Analyst in 2008 where he designed risk assessments to estimate public health risk for chemical hazards in food. He currently serves as the Scientific Liaison for FSIS in Fort Collins, Colorado where he interfaces with government, industry and academic stakeholders, and partners to identify Agency research and data needs and to develop and coordinate solutions.

Dr. Johnston has faithfully served the AGRO Division for more than 10 years. He has exhibited extraordinary creativity, leadership, and scientific excellence, and always with immense enthusiasm. Dr. Johnston has contributed in many ways to the success of the Division, but most substantially, when he chaired the AGRO Education Committee (2002 to 2009). In this demanding role, he served as a primary contact for the dozens of young scientists many of whom remain active in the Division.

Dr. Johnston served as Vice Chair, Program Chair, and Division Chair (2006 – 2008) and currently is the Division Treasurer. Dr. Johnston has organized and chaired more than 20 technical symposia on a variety of topics. For many years he co-chaired the standing symposium on Residues and Metabolism which has been an important venue for many AGRO scientists to present their work. In 2010, he organized two symposia at the Pacifichem Conference. One of these entitled, “Rodenticide-Based Opportunities for Protection of Agriculture, Ecosystems & Public Health,” was later featured in Chemical & Engineering News highlighting the challenges of protecting endangered plant and animal species from rodent infestation in island habitats.

Recognizing that AGRO’s strength depended on robust programming and a commitment to long range planning, in 2006 Dr. Johnston initiated the long range planning brainstorming session on Wednesday during Happy Hour at the ACS National Meetings. These sessions are open to all members and interested parties and have become extremely valuable to the Division. What makes these sessions truly unique and enjoyable is the entertainment as Dr. Johnston (aka Johnny Johnston) is not only an accomplished scientist, he is a talented fingerpickin’, slide guitarist. Within a year, these sessions became known as the “Blues and Brews”.

In John’s words, “Being active in AGRO has afforded me numerous opportunities which have complemented my scientific career for the past 20+ years. First and foremost, the opportunity to be part of a network of folks that I thoroughly enjoy is clearly the most significant benefit of being an AGRO member. Professionally, AGRO membership affords access to an incredible reservoir of knowledge; knowledge to be tapped during formal symposia or informally, while tapping a keg of beer during happy hour. I greatly appreciate being recognized as an AGRO Fellow.”