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James E. Johnson, PhD

Associate Professor



Wake Forest School of Medicine, 1983


Basic Science Research Emphasis: 1. Activity-dependent changes in neurotrophic signaling including alterations in the utilization of BDNF following perturbations in visual experience and motor activity. 2. The physiological role of BDNF signaling on the anatomical, physiological and behavioral plasticity of the visual and motor systems.  

Applied Clinical Research Emphasis: Development of quantitative diagnostic assays to improve the assessment of patients afflicted with acute and chronic neuronal cell death using an electrochemiluminesence immunoassay ECLIA and electrochemiluminesence ribonuclease protection assay (ECLRA).  

Medical Education: Instruction of all anatomical disciplines (Gross Anatomy, Microanatomy, Neuroanatomy, Embryology) throughout all phases of undergraduate and postgraduate medical education.

Selected Publications

Johnson JE  (1998)  Neurotrophic factors, In: Fundamental Neuroscience, (FL Bloom, SC Landis, JL Roberts, LR Squire, and MJ Zigmond, eds.)  New York, NY, p. 611-635.

 Gunther EC, CS von Bartheld, LJ Goodman, JE Johnson, M Bothwell  (2000) The G‑protein inhibitor, pertussis toxin, inhibits the secretion of brain‑derived neurotrophic factor.  Neuroscience 100(3): 569‑579.

 Pollock GS, E Vernon, ME Forbes, Q Yan, Y-T Ma, T Hsieh, R Robichon, DO Frost, JE Johnson (2001) Effects of early visual experience and diurnal rhythms on BDNF mRNA and protein levels in the visual system, hippocampus, and cerebellum.  J Neurosci 21(11): 3923‑3931.

 von Bartheld CS, and JE Johnson  (2001)  Target-derived BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) is essential for the survival of developing neurons in the isthmo-optic nucleus.  J Comp Neurol 433: 550-564.

 Frost DO, YT Ma, T Hsieh, ME Forbes, JE Johnson  (2001)  Developmental changes in BDNF protein levels in the hamster retina and superior colliculus.  J Neurobiol 49(3): 173-187.

 Oppenheim RW and JE Johnson  (2002)  Programmed cell death and neurotrophic factors.  In:  Fundamental Neuroscience, 2nd Edition, pp 499-532, Academic Press.

 Vernon EM, RW Oppenheim, and JE Johnson  (2004)  Distinct muscle targets do not vary in the developmental regulation of brain-derived neurotrophic factor.  J Comp Neurol 470: 330-337.

 Chytrova G, and JE Johnson  (2004) Spontaneous retinal activity modulates BDNF trafficking in the developing chick visual system.  Mol Cell Neurosci 25: 549-557.

 Newton IG, ME Forbes, C Legault, JE Johnson, JK Brunso-Bechtold, and DR Riddle (2005) Caloric restriction does not affect aging-related changes in hippocampal BDNF protein levels.  Neurobiology of Aging 26(5): 683-688.

 Scalia J, SH Lisanby, AJ Dwork, JE Johnson, ER Bernhardt, V Arango, and WV McCall (2007) Neuropathologic examination after 91 ECT treatments in a 92-year-old woman with late-onset depression.  J ECT 23(2): 96-98. 

 Hayashida K, BA Clayton, JE Johnson, and JC Eisenach (2008) Brain derived nerve growth factor induces spinal noradrenergic fiber sprouting and enhances clonidine analgesia following nerve injury in rats.  Pain 136(3): 348-355.

 Heitz C, A Brown, JE Johnson, and MT Fitch  (2009)  Large group high-fidelity simulation enhances medical student learning.  Medical Teacher 31(5): e206-e210.

 Kragh JF Jr, C Murphy, MA Dubick, DG Baer, J Johnson, and LH Blackbourne  (2011)  New tourniquet device concepts for battlefield hemorrhage control.  US Army Med Dep J Apr-Jun: 38-48.

 Taylor AR, DJ Gifondorwa, MB Robinson, JL Strupe, D Prevette, JE Johnson, BL Hempstead, RW Oppenheim, and CE Milligan.  Target-derived proBDNF promotes apoptosis of spinal motoneurons during development. J Neurosci. (Submitted)  

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Neurobiology & Anatomy

Phone 336-716-4368

Dr. Barry E. Stein

Dr. Barry E. Stein, Chairman
Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy
Wake Forest School of Medicine
Medical Center Boulevard
Winston-Salem, NC  27157-1010
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