|President Kelley appoints new VP for Research and Economic Development: Phyllis E. Johnson|
Dr. Phyllis Johnson has been named the Vice President for Research and Economic Development at UND, President Robert O. Kelley announced Monday, June 1. Johnson will start her duties Aug. 1.
"I'm pleased that Dr. Phyllis Johnson is joining the leadership team at UND. She brings a wealth of experience in managing a large, complex research organization, which will be important as she helps provide direction for the University's growing research enterprise," said Kelley. He said Johnson's expertise will also be invaluable as she defines the added responsibilities for economic development and helps the University refine its approach to managing intellectual property.
"This is my dream job. I think my greatest scientific contributions have been made through facilitating the research of people who are much smarter than me. To be able to do that in my home state of North Dakota, and at the institution that gave me the foundation for my career, is tremendously exciting," said Johnson.
Dr. Phyllis E. Johnson
A Grafton, N.D., native who grew up in Grand Forks and earned degrees from UND, Dr. Phyllis Johnson is currently a research associate with the Smithsonian Institute, where she works with scientific policy and represents the U.S. government at an international level regarding scientific collections. She also is adjunct assistant professor at the University of Maryland College Park.
Until 2008, Johnson served as director of the Beltsville Area USDA Agricultural Research Service. She managed a broad range of research, from entomology to genomics to remote sensing. She was responsible for a $135 million budget and staff of 1,200, including more than 300 doctoral-level scientists. The flagship Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC), which includes the U.S. National Arboretum, is the largest and most comprehensive agricultural research center in the world. She led the USDA in biofuel and biobased product utilization since 1999, and has received three White House awards for these activities. Under her leadership, BARC has won multiple awards. She was co-chair of a federal interagency working group developing science policy related to scientific collections as critical national research infrastructure. She represents the U.S. government on this topic internationally.
Before joining the Beltsville ARS, Johnson served as acting area director and associate director, Pacific West Area, USDA, ARS; research leader for nutrition, biochemistry and metabolism, USDA ARS Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center (HNRC); clinical instructor in internal medicine at the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences; research chemist and Research Leader, Grand Forks HNRC; and a lab instructor at the University of Mary, Bismarck.
Johnson earned her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from UND in 1971, her doctorate in physical chemistry from UND in 1976, and did postdoctoral work at the Grand Forks HNRC.
Johnson is active in community and national organizations, and was the first woman to be named president of a Sons of Norway district.
Johnson’s late husband, Robert S. T. Johnson, was also a UND alum. She has two children and six grandchildren.
-- Peter Johnson, Executive Associate Vice President for University Relations, University Relations, email@example.com, 777-4317