College of Pharmacy Ph.D. graduate receives campus award

WSU College of Pharmacy graduate Emily Johnson received a 2016 WSU Spokane Chancellor’s Award. The Chancellor’s Awards recognize students for their significant leadership, academic contributions to the campus and community, and their commitment to innovation and ingenuity in their chosen field. Johnson recently completed her Ph.D. in pharmaceutical sciences at WSU in Spokane.

Johnson was presented the award during the 2016 WSU Spokane Commencement Breakfast on May 6. She was nominated by her faculty mentor, Experimental and Systems Pharmacology Associate Professor Susan Marsh, and selected by WSU Spokane Chancellor Lisa Brown.

“Emily is a perfect example of a student who has excelled in all six of the required categories for the award,” said Marsh.

Johnson excelled in her coursework, published and presented her dissertation work in international journals and meetings, was a leader on campus, initiated and participated in science and community outreach, and forged new collaborations with other labs, said Marsh.

“It’s great to see her achievements receive such recognition. She has set the bar very high for graduate students in the College of Pharmacy. Emily was a wonderful student to work with and I could not have asked for a better teammate for my lab,” said Marsh.

Johnson is from Seabeck, Washington. She completed her bachelor’s in exercise physiology and metabolism at Washington State University in 2011 and began her doctorate in 2012. Last year, Johnson won the first university-wide Three Minute Thesis contest hosted by the WSU Provost’s Office in Pullman. This contest for doctoral candidates gives contestants three minutes to explain their thesis to an audience of people with non-scientific backgrounds.

Johnson’s research, which was funded by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, studied the effects of exercise on the diabetic heart and how anti-cancer drugs affect sugar metabolism and health in diabetic hearts. She hopes her research will lead to a new way of combating heart disease in diabetics.

During her time in the graduate program, Johnson served as the director of outreach and community engagement for the Associated Students of WSU Spokane, she was the co-founder and president of the WSU Graduate Research Student Association, and she served on the WSU President’s Commission on Gender Identity/Expression and Sexual Orientation. She has volunteered extensively at area hospitals, the Global Neighborhood’s refugee resettlement program, and she is a foster parent.

Johnson successfully defended her doctoral thesis titled, “Diabetic cardiomyopathy: phenotypes, mechanisms, and therapeutic targets,” for her Ph.D. degree in November 2015. She is currently working as a postdoctoral research associate in Dr. Mary Paine’s lab at WSU Health Sciences in Spokane.

[May 1, 2016] By: Lori J. Maricle