You are here

New PSM-ABS Faculty Members

With the start of the Fall semester two faculty members from the Department of Immunobiology, College of Medicine, University of Arizona, joined the faculty roster of the PSM-Applied Biosciences.

Nafees Ahmad, Professor


Dr. Nafees Ahmad received his BS (Hons) in Chemistry and MS in Biochemistry from one of the prestigious central universities in India, The Aligarh Muslim University. He then joined another renowned research institute, The Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow, India, from where he earned his Ph.D. in 1983.  Dr. Ahmad did his Postdoctoral Fellowship at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, Maryland, USA from 1985-1990 in the Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. His research primarily focused on the regulation of HIV-1 gene expression and replication, especially the role of HIV-1 regulatory and accessory proteins in HIV-1 replication and biology.  In 1990, a group of scientists from the NIH, including Dr. Ahmad moved to J.N. Gamble Institute of Medical Research, Cincinnati, Ohio to start a new program on Molecular Virology, including his own independent research program on molecular mechanisms of HIV-1 mother-to-infant transmission. In 1994, Dr. Ahmad joined the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson’s Department of Microbiology and Immunology (now Immunobiology). His research involves understanding the molecular mechanisms of differential HIV infection in infants and adults and vertical transmission and pathogenesis. In addition, he directs the Immunity and Infection block of the medical curriculum of the College of Medicine – Tucson.

Research Interests:
1. Molecular mechanisms of HIV-1 vertical transmission
2. Molecular mechanisms of HIV-1 pathogenesis in infants and children
3. Molecular mechanisms of HIV-1 infection in immature and mature mononuclear cells
4. Identification and characterization of cellular factors involved in HIV-1 replication in immature and mature mononuclear cells
5. Biological activity of anti-HIV compounds

Read more at:

Michael D. L. Johnson, Assistant Professor


Michael D. L. Johnson received his bachelors from Duke University. He obtained a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Biophysics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he studied the effects of calcium on bacterial motility and attachment under the mentorship of Matthew Redinbo. For his postdoctoral training, Michael Johnson went to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in order to work with Jason Rosch on metal homeostasis of Streptococcus pneumoniae and subsequently with Douglas Green on the mechanisms of LC3-associated phagocytosis. Michael Johnson joined the faculty of the University of Arizona in 2016.


Research Interests:

Metals serve as vital nutrients to all biological systems. During infections, bacteria must not only acquire all metals necessary for survival from within the host, such as calcium or manganese, but must also efflux metals that are toxic or in excess such as copper. The overall goal of my laboratory is to investigate how bacteria maintain homeostasis within the metal milieu. This goal involves determining how metals are processed, the orchestrated response during metal sensing, and the role that the host plays in this process during infection. Understanding how bacteria interact with metals during infections will identify novel therapeutic strategies against bacterial infection.

Read more at:

Recently, Dr. Johnson appointed the new Diagnostics Laboratory Sciences track student, Itzel Rosas Gutierrez, as his intern for Fall 2016-Spring 2017.




Last updated 16 Mar 2017