Marc Johnson began his research career studying a rabies-like virus in fish. “Working with fish viruses is really cool research,” he notes, but there are just not a lot of people doing it,” and that sense of isolation was eventually too much. In search of collaboration and community, Johnson switched from fish viruses to HIV. Since then, the assistant professor in MU’s Department of Microbiology and Immunology has dedicated his research efforts to the study of these related humans viruses. He and his collaborators have made great progress in understanding how the HIV virus works in order to develop new therapeutics to combat the disease.
Johnson explains his love for science, his passion for microbiology, and how all that led him to the study of retroviruses. “Working with fish viruses is really cool research,” he notes, but there are just not a lot of people in this area, and that sense of isolation was eventually too much: “I missed having people with whom to interact, so I went to the absolute opposite—HIV.”