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Roger Anthony Johns, M.D.

Photo of Dr. Roger Anthony Johns, M.D.
  • Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine

Languages: English, Spanish



Research Interests

Nitric oxide guanylyl cyclase signaling pathway; Endothelial cell biology and the role of the endothelium in relation to vascular tone and growth more

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The Johns Hopkins Hospital (Main Entrance)

Appointment Phone: 443-287-6524
1800 Orleans St.
Sheikh Zayed Tower
Baltimore, MD 21287 map
Phone: 443-287-6254 | Fax: 410-614-7711


Dr. Roger Anthony Johns is a professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine and medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He specializes in cardio-thoracic anesthesia.

Dr. Johns and his group discovered the role of the nitric oxide pathway in mechanisms of anesthesia and have published important work implicating this pathway in the mechanism of plasticity associated with chronic inflammatory and neuropathic pain.

He earned his M.D. from Wayne State University. He completed an internship in internal medicine and anesthesiology as well as a residency in anesthesiology at the University of Virginia, where he subsequently conducted fellowships in molecular pharmacology and cardiac anesthesia. Additionally, he earned an M.H.S. in health policy management and a Ph.D. in public health at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Dr. Johns served as Mark C. Rogers Professor and Chairman of the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine at Johns Hopkins from 1999 to 2003. Prior to joining Johns Hopkins in that capacity, he was the Acting Chair of Anesthesiology at the University of Virginia.

He is a member of numerous professional organizations including the American Medical Association, the American Heart Association, the American Society of Anesthesiologists and the International Anesthesia Research Society. He serves on several professional boards and committees, and is the editor of Pulmonary Circulation and American Journal of Physiology: Lung, Cellular, and Molecular Biology. He has published extensively and has won several awards for his research. He is board certified in anesthesiology. more


  • Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine
  • Professor of Medicine

Departments / Divisions



  • MD, Wayne State University School Of Medicine (1981)


  • University of Virginia School of Medicine / Internal Medicine (1985)


  • University of Virginia School of Medicine / Anesthesiology (1987)

Board Certifications

  • American Board of Anesthesiology / Anesthesiology-General (1986)

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Dr. Johns began his scientific career in the race to discover the identity of “endothelium-derived relaxing factor” or EDRF, which proved to be nitric oxide. This small, unassuming molecule (NO) has led him in a pursuit of the mechanisms underlying anesthesia, analgesia, pain and lung vascular biology. Discoveries include the regulation of NO production by high and low oxygen concentrations and NO’s role in lung biology, including pulmonary hypertension, ciliary motility, development and transition of the fetal pulmonary circulation. Dr. Johns and his group discovered the role of the NO pathway in mechanisms of anesthesia and have published important work implicating this pathway in the mechanism of plasticity associated with chronic inflammatory and neuropathic pain.

Dr. Johns also has an interest in health policy. He is a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow of the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences (2005 - 2008) and served as a health and science policy advisor in the U.S. Senate 109th Congress. Current policy research interests and experience include approaches to coverage decisions for new technologies and pharmaceuticals, the impact of an aging population on health systems funded through pay-as-you-go social insurance, health information technology, and the science and politics of biogeneric drugs.

He has trained more than 30 students and fellows now in independent academic and industrial research positions around the world. He has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health for over 20 years.


Dr. Johns and his team are currently investigating the molecular mechanisms that underlie the onset and maintenance of chronic pain, particularly neuropathic pain. This research has helped to elucidate a vast network of molecules at neuronal synapses, particularly the post-synaptic density (PSD), that are critical for pain signal propagation. The team’s work includes the development of new analgesics to interfere with the PSD protein interactions in the hopes of providing relief for those who suffer from debilitating chronic pain.

Another of Dr. Johns’ interests is in the mechanism of inhalational anesthetics, such as the commonly used sevoflurane, and their ability to specifically disrupt critical protein-protein interactions that mediate excitatory neurotransmission and contribute to the anesthetic state.

Recently, Dr. Johns and his team identified a gene that was highly upregulated in a hypoxia-induced model of pulmonary hypertension and named it hypoxia-induced mitogenic factor (HIMF). They found that the HIMF protein is upregulated by hypoxia and by TH2 stimulation and that it is expressed in the remodeling pulmonary vessels. They also showed that recombinant HIMF has mitogenic, angiogenic, vasoconstricting and chemokine-like properties in the lung.

They have now proven a role for HIMF as a pleiotropic cytokine that mediates the vascular remodeling and induced hemodynamic changes of hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension. HIMF is also upregulated in some human forms of pulmonary hypertension and asthma. Much work is still required to clarify the exact role of HIMF, but it could be a key player in inflammatory lung diseases such as pulmonary hypertension and asthma.

Dr. Roger Johns' Lab

Selected Publications

Tao F, Johns RA. "Tat-mediated peptide intervention in analgesia and anesthesia." Drug Dev Res. 2010 Apr 1;71(2):99-105

Johns RA. "TH2 inflammation, hypoxia-induced mitogenic factor/FIZZ1, and pulmonary hypertension and vascular remodeling in schistosomiasis." Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2010 Feb 1;181(3):203-5

Johns RA, Yamaji-Kegan K. "Unveiling cell phenotypes in lung vascular remodeling." Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol 2009 Dec; 297(6):L1056-8

Johns RA, Gao L, Rafaels NM, Grant AV, Stockton-Porter ML, Watson HR, Beaty TH, Barnes KC. "Polymorphisms in resistin and resistin-like beta predict bronchial hyperreactivity in human asthma." Proc Am Thorac Soc 2009. 6:329

Yamaji-Kegan K, Su Q, Angelini DJ, Johns RA. "IL-4 is proangiogenic in the lung under hypoxic conditions." J Immunol 2009 May 1;182(9):5469-76

Activities & Honors


  • Elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine, 2010
  • Board of Directors, Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research (FAER), 2013
  • Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow of the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, 2005 - 2008
  • WTG Morton Society, 1999
  • Elected to Association of University Anesthesiologists, 1997
  • Elected to American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 1990
  • Anesthesia Young Investigator/Parker B. Francis Investigator Award, 1987 - 1989
  • Elected to Association of Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists, 1989


  • Academy Health
  • Albemarle County Medical Society
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • American Heart Association, Cardiopulmonary Council
  • American Medical Association
  • American Physiological Society
  • American Society of Anesthesiologists
  • American Society of Echocardiography
  • American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
  • American Thoracic Society
  • Association of Cardiac Anesthesiologists
  • Association of University Anesthesiologists
  • Baltimore County Medical Society
  • Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
  • Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences
  • International Anesthesia Research Society
  • Johns Hopkins Medical-Surgical Association Society for Neuroscience
  • Society of Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists
  • Virginia Society of Anesthesiologists
  • Virginia State Medical Society

Professional Activities

  • Editor, Pulmonary Circulation, 2010
  • Editor, American Journal of Physiology: Lung, Cellular, and Molecular Biology, 2000
  • Health policy advisor to Johns Hopkins University Government Affairs Office, 2008
  • National Coalition on Health Care representing Johns Hopkins Medicine, 2008

Patient Ratings & Comments

The Patient Rating score is an average of all responses to physician related questions on the national CG-CAHPS Medical Practice patient experience survey through Press Ganey. Responses are measured on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best score. Comments are also gathered from our CG-CAHPS Medical Practice Survey through Press Ganey and displayed in their entirety. Patients are de-identified for confidentiality and patient privacy.

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