As vice president and director of research at amfAR, Rowena Johnston is responsible for overseeing the Foundation’s pioneering research program. Her responsibilities include determining the Foundation’s research priorities, evaluating and analyzing the program’s direction, and serving as a liaison between the research committee and other committees.
Dr. Johnston has overseen the reorganization of amfAR’s research program in order to target work directed at improving HIV prevention and treatment interventions, support the career development of young HIV/AIDS researchers, and aggressively pursue a cure for HIV. In 2010 she was instrumental in forming the amfAR Research Consortium on HIV Eradication (ARCHE).
In addition to her Foundation work, Dr. Johnston serves on a number of HIV-related advisory committees and as an ad hoc reviewer for numerous journals and conferences. She has published several scientific papers, and has been an invited speaker at numerous educational institutions around the country as well as at international conferences. She regularly speaks to the press about emerging research findings.
Dr. Johnston received her Ph.D. in psychology (biopsychology) in 1998 from the University of Michigan. From 1997–1998 she was a postdoctoral fellow in the department of neurology at Emory University, and from 1998–2001, she was a visiting research fellow at the cellular neurology branch of the National Institute on Drug Abuse in Baltimore, Maryland. Prior to joining amfAR in September 2001, Dr. Johnston was scientific advisor at the Michael J. Fox Foundation/Parkinson’s Action Network.