Dr. Laurance Johnston obtained his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Hamline University (Minnesota) and his doctorate in biochemistry and molecular biology from Northwestern University (Illinois). His Ph.D. research focused on the mechanism of action of various antibiotics, including vancomycin, a last-resort antibiotic in resistant infections. His postdoctoral research investigated the cell surface of cancer cells. Based on his research, Dr. Johnston was awarded a prestigious fellowship from the Damon Runyon/Walter Winchell Cancer Foundation.
After a stint at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Dr. Johnston joined the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), National Institutes of Health, a now billion-dollar Institute focused on developmental disabilities. As NICHD Director of Scientific Review, he managed the scientific review of research grant applications submitted to the Institute. He also played a key organizational role in establishing the Congressionally mandated National Center of Medical Rehabilitation Research.
Dr. Johnston later became the director of the Paralyzed Veterans of America’s (PVA) Spinal Cord Research and Education Foundations. These foundations support spinal cord injury research ranging from basic to clinical science and educational programs for consumers and healthcare professionals. His program developed several national conferences and events, involving White House input and featuring celebrities such as actor Christopher Reeve, CNN’s Larry King, NBC’s Katie Couric, and others.
After leaving Washington, D.C., Dr. Johnston became a disability-research consultant, health educator, and writer, as well as consulting scientist for PVA and the Icelandic Government. He is currently a member of PVA's Education Foundation Board of Directors Dr. Johnston has authored over 130 articles for widely circulated magazines/journals involving physical disability, alternative medicine and other subjects. He is the author of the book Alternative Medicine and Spinal Cord Injury: Beyond the Banks of the Mainstream, published by Demos Medical Publishing. He has been invited to speak at a national and international meetings - e.g., speaking at a World Health Organization Conference in Iceland (shown above with former Iceland President Vigdis Finnbogadottir). Dr. Johnston is listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World.