Matthew L. Johnson, Ph.D.
Matthew L. Johnson, Ph.D., of Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, says he's eager to translate his research findings to improve human health and is inspired to follow in the footsteps of previous Mayo Clinic KL2 scholars.
"The KL2 Program has a long track record of developing successful translational researchers who impact their respective fields and ultimately improve patient care," says Dr. Johnson. "As I start my career as an independent scientist, I've been given the opportunity to focus for several years on exactly how that can be achieved."
Dr. Johnson's research is at the interface of bioenergetics, insulin action and aging. Specifically, he is studying how the process of metabolizing nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins and fats (bioenergetics) influences the development of type 2 diabetes (insulin action) in the context of aging. Much of his work focuses on the major organelles in the human body responsible for processing nutrients, the mitochondria, which he views as a fulcrum between metabolism and mechanisms of metabolic disease.
Dr. Johnson says Mayo provides an infrastructure to perform translational research in the purest sense.
"Basic 'discovery' science is performed on campus with human clinical and epidemiology research in a collaborative manner," says Dr. Johnson. "Mayo is the best possible place to undertake mentored research training in clinical and translational sciences."
As a KL2 scholar, Dr. Johnson says he's excited about receiving additional training from his mentors and learning more about bioinformatics, proteomics and metabolomics — emerging technologies that have a powerful future in understanding human health and disease.
Dr. Johnson will spend several years under the mentorship of K. Sreekumaran Nair, M.D., Ph.D., who has a long track record as an independently funded principal investigator.
"With what I learn from Dr. Nair and the KL2 Program course work, I hope to develop an independently funded lab of my own," says Dr. Johnson.