Faculty Directory

Erica L. Johnson, PhD

Dr. Erica L. Johnson headshot

Associate Professor of Microbiology, Biochemistry, and Immunology
Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Co-Director, Vaccine Trials Unit and Pediatric Clinical & Translational Research Unit
Morehouse School of Medicine

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Dr. Erica L. Johnson is an Immunologist and Associate Professor of Microbiology, Biochemistry & Immunology and Obstetrics & Gynecology at Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM). She also serves as a Co-Director for MSM’s Vaccine Trials Unit and Pediatric Clinical & Translational Research Unit. Erica received extensive training in immunology and virology during her graduate studies at MSM and as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Pediatrics-Infectious Diseases at Emory University. Erica is dedicated to the field of pediatric infectious diseases and has a strong desire to make significant contributions leading towards a cure to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in children, along with other clinically relevant pathogens that threaten a healthy start for children globally.

Erica’s research has advanced the understanding of innate protection against MTCT of HIV-1 and pediatric immune responses to maternal viral infections. Erica is particularly interested in placental and fetal immunology as it relates to HIV infection and plan to define mechanisms of protection and transmission during her career to further our understanding of HIV pathogenesis and vaccine development. Through novel ideas and excellent collaborations, her group has extensively characterized and published on viral infection (HIV-1, human cytomegalovirus [HCMV] and Zika Virus) and the innate immune responses at the maternal-fetal interface. Erica’s current research goals are to (1) define the dynamics of innate immune signaling in macrophages at the maternal-fetal interface and their control of HIV, HCMV, and ZIKV during pregnancy; (2) determine the mechanisms by which HCMV exposure promotes in utero HIV transmission; and (3) elucidate the impact of maternal infection and/or inflammation on the developing fetal immune system.

Outside of the laboratory, Erica enjoys reading, serving the community, and spending as much time as possible with her amazing husband Ira, and her beautiful and lively children, Ariyana (14), David (4), and Cameron (2).

Research Center(s)