Theresa Johnston, PhD
Office #: BVM 403
Johnston is an ecotoxicologist, who studies the effects of contaminants upon aquatic and terrestrial wildlife reproduction and behavior. She completed her education at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign with B.S. and M.S. degrees in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences and a Ph.D. in Comparative Biosciences. She has conducted research as a postdoctoral fellow at McGill University and at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Narragansett, Rhode Island. Johnston is broadly interested in the impacts humans have upon ecosystems through habitat changes and contaminants in aquatic and terrestrial systems and how we can make changes to improve our impacts. She has taught courses at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Parkland College, and she has guest lectured at McGill University. She is a member of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry and the Wildlife Society.
Contaminants can have numerous sub-lethal effects upon animals. Johnston is interested in the reproductive and behavioral effects that pharmaceuticals and other human-introduced contaminants have upon fish and birds. Part of her research includes the development and use of a tissue co-culture for studying effects of chemicals upon hormone production in the reproductive endocrine system. This type of research reduces the number of organisms required while staying more relevant to whole-animal research than traditional in vitro methods. Her research has combined whole-organism and tissue culture studies to add information to Adverse Outcome Pathways. She also studies the effects of soil quality and pesticide drift upon birds in field settings. Johnston’s research goal is to improve understanding of how contaminants affect human and wildlife health.