Michele Johnson joined the Department of Biology in 2009, after completing her Ph.D. in evolutionary biology at Washington University and postdoctoral work in behavioral neuroscience at Michigan State University. Johnson teaches courses on evolution, and her research focuses on the evolution of lizard behavior. She has long been involved in initiatives to support women in science, and she works closely with local elementary teachers to advance science education in San Antonio.
Ph.D., Washington University in St. Louis
B.S., Wake Forest University
Vitousek, M.N., M.A. Johnson, J.W. Donald, C.D. Francis, M.J. Fuxjager, W. Goymann, M. Hau, J.F. Husak, B.K. Kircher, R. Knapp, L.B. Martin, E.T. Miller, L.A. Schoenle, J. Uehling*, and T.D. Williams. 2018. HormoneBase, a population-level database of steroid hormone levels across vertebrates. Scientific Data 5:180097.
Johnson, M.A., C.D. Francis, E.T. Miller, C.J. Downs, and M.N. Vitousek. 2018. Detecting bias in large-scale comparative analysis: Methods for expanding the scope of hypothesis-testing with HormoneBase. Integrative and Comparative Biology 58:720-728.
Johnson, M.A., B.K. Kircher, and D.J. Castro*. 2018. The evolution of androgen receptor expression and behavior in Anolis lizard forelimb muscles. Journal of Comparative Physiology A 204: 71-79.
Bush, J.M.*, M.M. Quinn*, E.C. Balreira, and M.A. Johnson. 2016. How do lizards determine dominance? Applying ranking algorithms to animal social behavior. Animal Behaviour 118: 65-74.
Robinson, C.D.*, M.S. Patton*, B.M. Andre, and M.A. Johnson. 2015. Convergent evolution of brain morphology and communication modalities in lizards. Current Zoology 61: 281-291.
* denotes Trinity undergraduate co-author
How does behavior evolve? The Johnson lab group is interested in the ecological factors that influence social behaviors and the physiological mechanisms that underlie those behaviors. Most of the lab’s work uses Caribbean lizards in the genus Anolis, or anoles, but we’re also exploring the diversity of lizards that occur at our local field sites in south-central Texas. We use field observations, laboratory experiments, molecular genetics, neuroendocrine techniques, and comparative methodology to explore behavioral evolution.
Introductory Biology Laboratory
The Darwinian Revolution
Honors & Awards
National Science Foundation IOS 1257021. RUI: Behavioral convergence in Caribbean lizards: morphological and physiological mechanisms. 2013-2018. $515,000.
Texas Ecolab. 2010-2019. Ten grants totaling over $113,000
2019 - Trinity University’s “Best of the Best” Faculty Award
2018 - President’s Award for Excellence in Student Advocacy, Trinity University
2015 - Junior Faculty Award for Distinguished Teaching and Research, Trinity University
2014 - Outstanding Mentor Award, Early Career, Council on Undergraduate Research, Biology Division
Community service & Involvement
Trinity University Involvement
TWIST (Trinity Women in Science & Technology) faculty adviser
Phi Beta Kappa, member of leadership team in Trinity University’s chapter
Darwin Day planning committee
Major Scholarships and Fellowships Committee
Coordinator of Trinity University’s Science Teaching Institute
Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology - Secretary