Richard T. Johnson, M.D.
Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience
Distinguished Service Professor
The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Professor of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology
The Johns Hopkins University
Bloomberg School of Public Health
Dr. Johnson is the former Director of the Department of Neurology at The Johns Hopkins University and Neurologist-in Chief at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. He "retired" from this role in 1997 to become Founding Director of the National Neuroscience Institute of Singapore, Editor of the Annals of Neurology, active member of the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the School of Hygiene and Public Health, and to continue as Professor of Neurology, Microbiology and Neuroscience in the Medical School. In 2000 he retired as Director of the Institute in Singapore, was reappointed Editor of the Annals of Neurology for a second four year term, and in 2001 was appointed as a part time Special Consultant on Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies to the National Institutes of Health.
Johnson grew up in Colorado and attended the University and Medical School there. After an internship in Medicine at Stanford, he was assigned to the Department of Virus Diseases at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research; his work on viral infections of the nervous system began there - work that has continued for more than 40 years. Between l959 and 1962 he trained as a resident in Neurology at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and after an 8 month appointment as First Assistant in Neurology in Newcastle-Upon Tyne, he went to the Department of Microbiology at the Institutes of Advanced Studies at National University in Canberra, Australia, where he performed studies on the pathogenesis of herpes simplex virus, rabies virus and arbovirus encephalitis. From 1964 to 1969 he was Assistant Professor and later Associate Professor of Neurology at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland where his virus studies were expanded to include chronic infections and virus-induced malformations of the CNS.
In 1969 he came to The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine as Dwight D. Eisenhower Professor of Neurology to found a new Department of Neurology with Guy McKhann . He developed multidisciplinary laboratory group to study viruses in demyelinating diseases, malformations, neoplasms and acute and chronic neurological diseases. Over 40 postdoctoral fellows from that laboratory continue to be active investigators in the field and ten are now department chairpersons. In 1971, he went as visiting Professor to Peru, in 1974 to Teheran, in 1976 to Germany, and in 1984 to Thailand. Between 1979 and 1991 he worked in a laboratory established in Lima for studies of measles during each winter. In 1988, he was appointed Director of the Department of Neurology. Throughout the time in Cleveland and Baltimore he has been an active clinician and twice at Hopkins won the Ford Award for Clinical Teaching.
He has published over 300 original articles and chapters and edited 10 books. He has also published a single authored volume on Viral Infections of the Nervous System (1982; 2nd edition 1998). He has received a number of national and international awards including a Humboldt Prize (German), Commendador of the Order of Hipolito Unanue (by the President of Peru), the Charcot Award (International Federation of Multiple Sclerosis Societies), the first Association of British Neurologists Multiple Sclerosis Medal, the first Soriano Award for the World Federation of Neurology, and the first Pioneer Award from the International Society of Neurovirology. He was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science in 1987and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of London in 2003. In 2001 he was made a Distinguished Service Professor of The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.