Johansen named chair of the Roy J. Carver Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology

Kristen Johansen, chair of the Roy J. Carver Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology.  (Christopher Gannon/Iowa State University)
Kristen Johansen, chair of the Roy J. Carver Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology. (Christopher Gannon/Iowa State University)

Kristen Johansen, a professor at Iowa State University, has been named chair of the Roy J. Carver Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology (BBMB).

Johansen currently serves as the department’s interim chair. Her new appointment begins July 1.

Johansen has been an Iowa State faculty member since 1992; she served 11 years in the previous Department of Zoology and Genetics, and as a member of the BBMB faculty since 2003. Her research focuses on the regulation of nuclear organization and function, which involves identifying molecules and the signal transduction pathways that regulate chromatin structure and gene expression. Her work has garnered significant funding from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health and many other organizations.

The department has a demonstrated history of both high-impact research and student engagement, and Johansen sees an opportunity to capitalize on that momentum.

“A large percentage of our undergraduate students participate in undergraduate research and projects like the Stupka Symposium, which bring faculty, students and professionals outside of the university together,” Johansen said. “I would like to build on the success of those initiatives and take it to the next level.”

The department, jointly administered by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, offers majors in biochemistry, biophysics and agricultural biochemistry. BBMB also offers master’s and doctorate degree programs.

“I am excited to take on this leadership opportunity,” Johansen said. “BBMB is an important piece of Iowa State’s excellent research reputation, with strongly funded research carried out by faculty whose work is published in prominent publications, and who are also recognized in the classroom as excellent educators and mentors.”

Johansen earned her master’s and doctorate degrees in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale University. She has been recognized for her excellence in research and education with the National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development CAREER award, the ISU Regent’s Award for Faculty Excellence and the LAS Distinguished Achievement in Research Award. She contributes to the field through an extensive collection of publications and presentations, in addition to involvement in the American Society for Cell Biology, Genetics Society of America and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.