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Crisis Centre

Expert Centre

Biography

Fascinated by the role bacteria play in interacting with our immune system, Julia-Green Johnson, PhD, an immunologist and microbiologist, has been leading important research in this area at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) for over a decade, with the goal of improving our understanding of the effects of diet and gut microbes on immunity and health of humans and animals. An Associate Professor in UOIT’s Faculty of Science, the impact of Dr. Green-Johnson’s work has had far-reaching implications. Her research is supported by industry and government with the goal of understanding how microbes and foods components affect the immune system. Sharing her knowledge and expertise with her students, Dr. Green-Johnson hopes collaborative research will inspire them to continue pushing the boundaries of discovery. Looking through a microscope teeming with microbes in her high school biology class was enough to pull Dr. Green-Johnson into world of science, and she has been immersed in the study of their effects on the immune system ever since. Dr. Green-Johnson earned both her Bachelor of Science (Honours) and her Master of Science from the Department of Microbiology at the University of Saskatchewan in 1983 and 1986, respectively. She obtained her Doctorate from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario in 1990, examining effects of aging on the immune system; and completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Manitoba Institute of Cell Biology at the University of Manitoba in 1994, focusing on neuro-immune interactions. She began her teaching and research career 20 years ago at Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia where she first held the position of assistant professor (CLT) in the Department of Biology; then she was appointed assistant professor (tenure track) in Acadia’s School of Nutrition and Food Science, and later became an honorary research associate in the Department of Biology. Actively involved in sharing her research for the benefit of organizations dedicated to advancing knowledge in microbiology, immunology and nutrition, Dr. Green-Johnson is a member of the Canadian Society of Microbiologists, the American Society of Microbiologists, the Institute of Food Technologists, the American Association of Immunologists, and the Canadian Institute of Food Science and Technology.

Expertise


Associate Professor, Faculty of Science, UOIT

July 1, 2007

Dr. Green-Johnson is the recipient of four UOIT Teaching Innovation Fund Awards, and helped lead the development of the university’s Applied Biosciences Graduate Studies program. She supervises the research of her graduate and undergraduate students, and teaches undergraduate Microbiology and Immunology courses. She has received numerous research awards from industry and government including NSERC, DFC, and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food.

Queen's University

1990
PhD - Department of Microbiology and Immunology

University of Saskatchewan

1986
MSc - Department of Microbiology

University of Saskatchewan

1983
BSc - Department of Microbiology
(Hons)
  • Mechanisms underlying the influence of the gastrointestinal tract environment on probiotic efficacy

    $120,000  | April 1, 2011

    Awarded by: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
    As primary investigator, Dr. Green-Johnson has been awarded $24,000 per year over 5 years to study food components and their ability to influence the immune system including interactions mediated by gut microbes and their products in the digestive system.

  • Investigating anti-atherogenic potential of fermented dairy products

    $160,160  | March 1, 2013

    Awarded by: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and Dairy Farmers of Canada
    Studies show that fermented milk has cardiovascular protective effects. Funded by the Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Dr. Green-Johnson is collaborating on a two-year study looking at the effects of milk on certain immune system markers associated with cardiovascular disease, and whether milk peptides will impact inflammatory biomarkers. This research could have significant implications for Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease.

  • Dietary Fibre and Gut Health of Albertans

    $60,000  | April 1, 2012

    Awarded by: Alberta Innovates Bio Solutions, Quality Food for Health Funding Program
    A collaborator of this three-year project, Dr. Green-Johnson's research explores the effects of dietary fibre and gut microbes on the immune system. In collaboration with Health Canada and Agriculture Canada, she is completing a controlled, double-blind study to identify the effects of the dietary fibre Fructans (inulin) in humans and animals, to carefully assess the benefits and safety of this food component.

  • Canadian Society of Microbiologists

  • American Society of Microbiologists

  • Institute of Food Technologists

  • American Association of Immunologists

  • Canadian Institute of Food Science and Technology

Involvement


  • Past speaking engagements
    • Investigating Effects of Fructans on host and immune parameters in a human clinical trial

      Bologna, Italy
      November 12, 2013

      EFFoST (European Federation of Food Science and Technology) Annual Meeting

    • Evaluating Influences of Fructans on Cytokine and Immunoglobulin Production in a human clinical trial

      San Francisco, California
      September 29, 2013

      Cytokines 2013: From Molecular Mechanisms to Human Disease

    • Effects of Dietary Fructo-oligosaccharides on Gender-based differences in Gut Mucosal Cytokines

      San Francisco, California
      September 29, 2013

      Cytokines 2013: From Molecular Mechanisms to Human Disease

    • Effects of soy ferments on the pro-inflammatory gene expression profile of HT-29 intestinal epithelial cells following TNF-α challenge

      Niagara Falls, Ontario
      May 27, 2012

      CIFST 50th Annual conference

    • Tissue-specific cytokine microenvironments develop in the gastrointestinal tract of Bio-breeding rats fed wheat bran, oat bran or resistant starch diets

      Vancouver, British Columbia
      June 20, 2012

      62nd Annual Conference of the Canadian Society of Microbiologists

    • Host-Microbe Interactions: Does Gender influence Immune changes mediated by Dietary Fibre?

      St. John's, Newfoundland
      June 20, 2011

      Canadian Society of Microbiologists 61st Annual Conference

    • Immunomodulatory properties of bovine milks supplemented with dietary omega-3 fatty acids and fermented by lactic acid bacteria

      St. John's, Newfoundland
      June 20, 2011

      Canadian Society of Microbiologists 61st Annual Conference

    • Analysis of Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Lactobacillus strains on Human Intestinal Epithelial Cells in Response to a Range of Pro-Inflammatory Stimuli

      St. John's, Newfoundland
      June 20, 2011

      Canadian Society of Microbiologists 61st Annual Conference

    • Lactic acid bacteria as a novel differentiation agent for Dendritic Cells: Effects on KG-1 differentiation

      St. John's, Newfoundland
      June 20, 2011

      Canadian Society of Microbiologists 61st Annual Conference

    • Effects of soy and dairy ferments on monocyte viability, cytokine production and cell surface molecule expression: impact in a low-shear modeled microgravity system

      Prague, Czech Republic
      October 1, 2010

      61st International Astronautical Congress (IAC), Abstract and presentation #A1.7. Biology in Space

    • Bioactivity of soy and milk ferments: effects on monocyte and macrophage cytokine production

      Winnipeg, Manitoba
      June 1, 2010

      2010 Annual CIFST/AAFC Conference

    • Prebiotic effects on Serum Enzyme levels and Immune cell population

      Halifax, Nova Scotia
      May 26, 2010

      AFMNet 6th Annual Scientific Conference

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