Veteran University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) professor and researcher Jerry Johnson is well familiar with the processes and challenges of securing funding for research projects. His experience in navigating grant applications and managing research initiatives will no doubt be an asset for his new role as UHD’s assistant vice president for the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.
“First and foremost, I will advocate for faculty in the development of their research and creative activities,” he said. “I want to make sure that any barriers that exist to their successes are removed, so they can realize their full potential and provide opportunities to students.”
UHD’s Office of Research and Sponsored Programs supports faculty by identifying sources of funding for research, programs and projects. It also provides guidance to faculty who are applying for grants. When grants are awarded to faculty, the office is available to offer insights on the management of funds. Additionally, it will help funded projects remain in compliance with any state or federal regulations, as well as stipulations set by awarding agencies.
“This office should be designed with the user in mind,” he said. “I want to be proactive and make faculty members’ lives a little easier. I want to provide answers for them before they even ask the question.”
Johnson often included students in his own research and hopes that he can inspire other faculty to do the same.
“This institution is committed to high impact experiences for its students,” he said. “I hope to motivate faculty to include students in their projects when possible, providing opportunities for the next generation of researchers.”
Johnson holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Houston. He arrived at UHD as a tenure track faculty member in 2005. He has taught undergraduate courses biochemistry, cellular biology, human physiology, pharmacology and toxicology
At the University, he’s focused research on mitochondrial enzymology, developmental neurobiology and heavy metal toxicology. His expertise in these areas has been featured in journals such as the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Molecular Vision, Environmental Health Perspectives, and Toxicology and Applies Pharmacology. At UHD, he was the principal investigator of a National Institutes of Health Maximizing Access to Research Careers grant, providing support for undergraduates who are underrepresented in biomedical sciences. Johnson also directs the Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Awards Consortium at UHD, which is partnered with Baylor College of Medicine and helps develop scientists to meet the nation’s biomedical needs.
Johnson soon will be visiting UHD’s colleges and departments to get faculty feedback on how the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs can best serve their needs.
“I want to hear what faculty have to say about their experiences with research at this institution,” he said. “I hope to assimilate all of this input and work with key faculty, staff and administrators to develop an action plan that will create a sustainable culture of research at UHD.”
For more details on the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, visit its website.