Dr. Liz Johnson is an Assistant Professor of Molecular Nutrition at Cornell University in the Division of Nutritional Sciences. Her work focuses on understanding how sphingolipid production by the gut microbiome influences host phenotypes as well as how the sphingolipid content of host diets affects the establishment of the microbiome. She studied biology at Spelman College before pursuing a PhD investigating cell cycle transcriptomics at Princeton University. Liz went on to study lipid dependent host-microbe interactions during her postdoctoral training in the lab of Ruth Ley before joining the faculty at Cornell in 2018.
The Johnson Lab has expertise in genomic, lipidomic, and molecular biology based methods for understanding how bioactive lipids shape host-microbe interactions. Currently projects in the lab focus on host-microbe molecule exchange and bioactive lipids in infant nutrition.
Sphingolipids are potent bioactive signaling molecules that are produced by both mammals and some of the the beneficial microbes that colonize the mammalian gut. Beneficial microbes are known to have an effect on host health but the mechanisms defining these processes are not well understood. Our lab is dedicated to characterizing the effects that microbe produced lipids have on host signaling pathways involved in lipid metabolism, insulin signaling, and cell proliferation. Together this work should give us a greater understanding on how beneficial microbes contribute to protection against the related diseases of obesity, diabetes, and cancer.
Johnson EL, Heaver SL, Waters JL, Kim BI, Bretin A, Goodman AL, Gewirtz AT, Worgall TS, Ley RE. (2019) Sphingolipid production by gut Bacteroidetes regulates glucose homeostasis. bioRxiv – https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/632877v1.
Heaver SL, Johnson EL, Ley RE. (2018) Sphingolipids in host-microbial interactions. Curr Opin Microbiol, 43:92-99
Mitra M, Johnson EL, Swamy VS, Nersesian LE, Corney DC, Robinson DG, Taylor DG, Ambrus AM, Jelinek D, Wang W, Batista SL, Coller HA. (2018) Alternative polyadenylation factors link cell cycle to migration. Genome Biol. doi: 10.1186/s13059-018-1551-9.
Lee HN, Mitra M, Bosompra O, Corney DC, Johnson EL, Rashed N, Ho LD, Coller HA. (2018) RECK isoforms have opposing effects on cell migration. Mol Biol Cell 2018:mbcE17120708
Johnson EL, Robinson DG, Coller HA. (2017) Widespread changes in mRNA stability contribute to quiescence-specific gene expression patterns in a fibroblast model of quiescence. BMC genomics 2017, 18(1):123.
Johnson EL, Heaver SL, Walters WA, Ley RE. (2016) Microbiome and metabolic disease: revisiting the bacterial phylum Bacteroidetes. J Mol Med (Berl) doi:10.1007/s00109-016-1492-2.
Suh EJ, Remillard MY, Legesse-Miller A, Johnson EL, Lemons JM, Chapman TR, Forman JJ, Kojima M, Silberman ES, Coller HA (2012) A microRNA network regulates proliferative timing and extracellular matrix synthesis during cellular quiescence in fibroblasts. Genome Biol 13 (12):R121. doi:gb-2012-13-12-r121 [pii] 10.1186/gb-2012-13-12-r121 PONE-D-11-22483 [pii]
Legesse-Miller A, Raitman I, Haley EM, Liao A, Sun LL, Wang DJ, Krishnan N, Lemons JM, Suh EJ, Johnson EL, Lund BA, Coller HA (2012) Quiescent fibroblasts are protected from proteasome inhibition-mediated toxicity. Mol Biol Cell 23 (18):3566-3581. doi:mbc.E12-03-0192 [pii] 10.1091/mbc.E12-03-0192
Wang DJ, Legesse-Miller A, Johnson EL, Coller HA (2012) Regulation of the let-7a-3 promoter by NF-kappaB. PLoS One 7 (2):e31240. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0031240
Johnson EL, Suh EJ, Chapman TR, Coller HA (2012) Identifying functional miRNA targets using overexpression and knockdown methods. Regulatory RNAs. Chapter 12. Springer-Verlag . B.Mallick (eds). doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-22517-8_12
Lemons JM, Feng XJ, Bennett BD, Legesse-Miller A, Johnson EL, Raitman I, Pollina EA, Rabitz HA, Rabinowitz JD, Coller HA (2010) Quiescent fibroblasts exhibit high metabolic activity. PLoS Biol 8 (10):e1000514. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1000514
Johnson EL, Cunningham TW, Marriner SM, Kovacs JL, Hunt BG, Bhakta DB, Goodisman MA (2009) Resource allocation in a social wasp: effects of breeding system and life cycle on reproductive decisions. Mol Ecol 18 (13):2908-2920. doi:MEC4240 [pii] 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2009.04240.x
Ph.D. - Molecular Biology, Prinecton University (2014)
B.S. - Biology, Spelman College (2008)