Kristen Johansen, professor and chair of the Roy J. Carver Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology (BBMB), was honored as the Roy J. Carver Professor in Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology at a medallion ceremony hosted by the ISU Foundation and President Wendy Wintersteen on March 30, 2018 at The Knoll.
Johansen has been an Iowa State faculty member since 1992 and was named chair of the Roy J. Carver Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology in July 2017. She also received the Roy J. Carver Professorship, which provides funds that support her research into high-risk, high-reward areas that wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust.
Johansen’s research seeks to understand proteins in the cell that affect chromosome organization and gene expression. She investigates the complexities of the architecture and regulation of genetic information within the cell. The research contributes to the understanding of numerous areas from healthy cell metabolism to causes of diseases such as cancer and possible treatments.
“A lot of cancers are due to genes not being expressed properly, but scientists have been surprised to find out the genes are not mutated,” Johansen said. “We now know the problem is because the chromatin packaging was disrupted. New treatments are trying to prevent this disruption and information on the chromatin structure will be helpful for that.”
Johansen has been previously 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.