Notre Dame College Biology Researcher, Teacher Selected Distinguished STEM Professor

A Notre Dame College faculty member recognized nationally for his work with undergraduates on biology research as well as his own professional scholarship has been selected for an endowed professorship.

M. Logan Johnson, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of biology at the College, has been named a Marie Goetz Geier Distinguished Professor of STEM. He and his students at Notre Dame identified a previously unstudied gene likely responsible for embryo production in fruit fly, or Drosophila melanogaster, models. Their advancing studies have been selected for presentation multiple times at national conferences and at state and College forums for nearly a decade now.

Johnson’s continuing efforts to study, and involve undergraduate biology majors in his research of, what is now called the Hunchback of Notre Dame College (hndc) gene earned him a place at the Annual Drosophila Research Conference of the Genetics Society of America this year and previously at the national Allied Genetics Conference.

His and his students’ research projects have been selected six straight years for presentation at the Annual Meeting of the Ohio Academy of Science.

Johnson has been on faculty at Notre Dame since 2009. He earned his doctorate from Case Western Reserve University, a bachelor’s degree from Fredonia State University and an associate’s degree from Jamestown Community College.

He joins David Orosz, Ph.D., and Tracey Meilander, Ph.D., in the rank created in 2017 with the $1.5 million gift of the Marie Goetz Geier Endowment for STEM Education and Professors in STEM Education. Orosz, associate professor of biochemistry; Meilander, associate professor of biology; and the late Josie Pophal, M.B.A., assistant professor of mathematics; initially received the distinction.

Johnson's work has been funded in part by the All Life Foundation as well as the Marie Goetz Geier STEM endowment at the College.

National Connections

In addition to his traditional molecular and genetic laboratory project approach to educating and developing students through research, as well as instructing them in the classroom, Johnson has involved his undergraduates in collaborations with the national Genomics Education Partnership, which provides students with sections of DNA sequence that they are responsible to annotate.

He also has engaged Notre Dame students in the national network Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) project and in hands-on experiences in conjunction with a laboratory at the University of Central Florida. This line of inquiry involved students in the study of the bacteria that causes Lyme disease to attack the immune system of an estimated 300,000 people in the United States each year.

College Honors

For the third straight year, Johnson and his research with students also has been acknowledged among faculty scholarship at the College. He won the President’s Lecture honor at the College in 2017 for his presentation on “The Pedagogy of Having Students Answer the Unknown: Teaching through Research.” His submissions on the HNDC gene and the JAZF1 cancer gene were recognized as commendable for the lectureship in 2018 and 2016, respectively.

Along with these studies of embryo and ovarian cell production, his work involves crystal, or immune, cell development in fruit flies and joint projects with Angela C. Johnson, Ph.D., associate professor of biology at the College, with regard to immune cell response in mouse models. Both areas of study look at staph infection.

September 2018

About Notre Dame College

For almost a century, Notre Dame College has educated a diverse population in the liberal arts for personal, professional and global responsibility. Founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1922, the College has grown strategically to keep pace with the rapidly changing needs of students and the dramatic changes in higher education. But it has never lost sight of its emphasis on teaching students not only how to make a good living but also how to live a good life.

Today, the College offers bachelor’s degrees in 30 disciplines plus a variety of master's degrees, certification programs and continuing and professional development programs for adult learners on campus and online. Notre Dame College offers NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletic programs for men and women and is located in a picturesque residential neighborhood just 25 minutes from the heart of Cleveland. Hallmarks of the Notre Dame experience include stimulating academics, personalized attention of dedicated faculty and staff, and small class sizes.

Notre Dame College is located at 4545 College Road in South Euclid. For further information contact Brian Johnston, chief communications officer, at 216.373.5252 or

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