JMU biology chair to speak on RNA research

Casonya Johnson PhD, chair of the department of biology at James Madison University, will give this spring’s second Suter Science Seminar on Wednesday, February 2, at 4 p.m., titled “Mechanisms of Transcriptional Repression in the Roundworm, Caenorhabditis elegans.” Johnson’s research is currently funded by the National Science Foundation, and has previously been funded by the National Institutes of Health and by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

In her seminar, Johnson will present on the most recent research in her laboratory, where she uses “molecular genetics, biochemistry, and mathematical biology to understand the basic mechanism by which cells produce RNA,” Johnson says.

The sessions are free to the public, and made possible by the sponsorship of the Daniel B. Suter Endowment in Biology and the co-sponsorship of supporting programs. They will be live streamed on the EMU Facebook Page. The campus community is invited to attend the seminars in person in room 106 of the Suter Science Center. 

Prior to working at JMU, Johnson served as a program director in the Molecular and Cellular Biosciences Division at the NSF, and as an associate professor at Georgia State University. Her interest in pursuing genetics stemmed from transmission of deafness and hearing loss in her family. Johnson has also created and led workshops for middle- and high-school teachers interested in incorporating genetics laboratories into their classes.

Named in honor of long-time EMU biology professor, Daniel B. Suter (1920-2006), the Endowment in Biology was established in 1986 through the generous donations of alumni and friends and currently consists of over $1 million of invested funds. EMU hopes to double the Suter Endowment in order to more adequately support distinguished faculty and to increase scholarship aid to deserving students.