Susan Johnson

 Susan Johnson

Dr. Susan Johnson is a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Streeck’s laboratory.  Dr. Johnson was awarded a Melbourne Research Scholarship in 2005 for her doctoral training in Andrew Lew’s laboratory at the prestigious Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne, Australia. After completing her thesis in 2008 she was awarded a highly competitive NHMRC biomedical overseas early career fellowship to study T cell specificities in Daniel Pinschewer’s laboratory at the WHO Collaborating Centre for Neonatal Immunology and Vaccinology and the University of Geneva, Switzerland.

Dr. Johnson’s passion lies in studying the protective capacity of T cells and how these cells can be exploited for vaccine purposes. Her dissertation discovered that CD40L expression on dendritic cells is important for priming CD8 T cells in the absence of CD4 T cells in viral infection and her postdoctoral fellowship identified that individual T cell specificities control chronic infection. In 2013 she joined Dr. Streeck’s laboratory where she will study protective T cells in the context of HIV vaccine immunology.

As well as her research, Dr. Johnson also involves herself in science communication. She previously taught at the Gene Technology Access Centre, participated as a finalist in the Famelab scientific communication competition and now volunteers at the Genome exhibition at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.

Honors and Awards

2013      Young Investigator Award to speak at the American Association of Immunology Annual Conference

2011      ENII scholarship to speak at the 6th ENII Immunology Summer School

2010      Poster prize: Joint Annual Congress of the Swiss Society of Allergology and Immunology and the Swiss Society for Infectious Diseases

2009      Invitation and scholarship to the RIKEN Center for Allergy and Immunology International Summer Program

2009      NHMRC Biomedical overseas postdoctoral training fellowship (4 years funding)

2007      Aegean Conferences Award

2007      Melbourne Abroad Scholarship

2006      JDRF Postgraduate International Travel Award

2006      ASI Annual Conference Award

2005      Melbourne Research Scholarship to undertake PhD at University of Melbourne (3 years funding)


The Alarmin Interleukin-33 Drives Protective Antiviral CD8+ T Cell Responses.

Bonilla WV, Fröhlich A, Senn K, Kallert S, Fernandez M, Johnson S, Kreutzfeldt M, Hegazy AN, Schrick C, Fallon PG, Klemenz R, Nakae S, Adler H, Merkler D, Löhning M, Pinschewer DD.

Science. 2012 Feb 24;335(6071):984-9


The viral replicative capacity is the primary determinant of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus persistence and immunosuppression

Bergthaler A, Flatz L, Hegazy AN, Johnson S, Horvath E, Löhning M and Pinschewer DD

PNAS 2010 Dec 14;107(50):21641-6


Development of replication-defective lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus vectors for the induction of potent CD8+ T cell immunity.

Flatz L, Hegazy AN, Bergthaler A, Verschoor A, Claus C, Fernandez M, Gattinoni L, Johnson S, Kreppel F, Kochanek S, Broek M, Radbruch A, Lévy F, Lambert PH, Siegrist CA, Restifo NP, Löhning M, Ochsenbein AF, Nabel GJ, Pinschewer DD.

Nature Medicine 2010 Mar;16(3):339-45.


Selected TLR ligands and viruses promote helper-independent CTL priming  by upregulating CD40L (CD154) on dendritic cells

Johnson S, Zhan Y, Mount A, Bedoui S, Brady JL, Carrington EM, Belz GT, Sutherland RM, Heath WR and Lew AM

Immunity 2009 February; 30; 218-227


Johnson S, Bourges D, Wijburg O, Strugnell RA, Lew AM.

Milk IgA responses are augmented by antigen delivery to the mucosal addressin cellular adhesion molecule-1

Vaccine 2006 July; 24(27-28);5552-5558


McKenzie BS, Corbett AJ, Johnson S, Brady JL, Pleasance J, Kramer DR, Boyle JS, Jackson DC, Strugnell RA, Lew AM.

Bypassing luminal barriers, delivery to a gut addressin by parenteral targeting elicits local IgA responses.

International Immunology 2004 Nov;16 (11);1613-22