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Staff Directory

Casonya M Johnson

W 17113
Program Director

Program Responsibilities:
ECosystem for Leading Innovation in Plasma Science and Engineering (ECLIPSE)
EPSCoR Collaborations for Optimizing Research Ecosystems Research Infrastructure Improvement Program (E-CORE RII)
EPSCoR Research Incubators for STEM Excellence Research Infrastructure Improvement Program (E-RISE RII)
EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement Program Track-1 (RII Track-1)
Historically Black Colleges and Universities - Excellence in Research (HBCU - EiR)
Ideas Lab: Advancing Research Capacity at HBCUs through Exploration and Innovation (ARC-HBCU)


Dr. Casonya M. Johnson joined OIA in December 2022 as a program director for the EPSCoR program and for the HBCU-Excellence in Research (EiR) Program.

Prior to her appointment in OIA, Dr. Johnson was the Deputy Division Director in Molecular and Cellular Biosciences Professor in the Biological Sciences Directors, and before that, the Head of the Department of Biology at James Madison University (JMU). Prior to joining the faculty at JMU, Dr. Johnson held positions as a tenured Assistant and Associate Professor at Morgan State University, and Georgia State University, respectively. Her training is in molecular genetics, and she holds a doctoral degree in Biology from Johns Hopkins University

Dr. Johnson’s research while in academia focused on understanding the mechanisms of transcriptional regulation by sequence specific transcription factors in C. elegans.  Her interest in pursuing genetics stemmed from transmission of deafness and hearing loss in her family. Dr. Johnson has engaged high school, undergraduate, and graduate students in inquiry-based research, and has also created and led workshops for middle-school and high-school teachers interested in incorporating genetics laboratories into their classes.