About the Lab

The Johnson Lab includes experts in poultry microbiology, bacterial pathogen ecology, and bacterial genomics. Research in the Johnson Lab has the primary goal of protecting poultry health and sustaining our healthy food supply. To that end, we strive to enhance poultry health through a better understanding of the microbiota of the bird, the biology of antimicrobial resistance, the efficacy of antimicrobial alternatives, and pathogen ecology. We also strive to understand the ecology and evolution of foodborne pathogens, primarily Salmonella, towards mitigating them on farm and preventing human illnesses.

Our Research Mission

  • Understand the ecology and evolution of poultry bacterial pathogens, including avian pathogenic E. coli and Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale (ORT).
  • Identify alternatives to antibiotics that can be used to Identify and refine poultry-adapted probiotics (Lactobacillus spp.) that can be used to enhance performance and reduce disease in agricultural animals.
  • Understand the microbial communities (microbiome) of poultry, and develop microbiome-based solutions for enhancing bird performance.
  • Develop tools that enable poultry producers to rapidly identify emergent Salmonella strains that present an enhanced risk to cause human illness.

Our Outreach Mission

  • Provide rapid response capability to the poultry industry of Minnesota.

  • Develop the next line of novel tools for research and diagnostics in poultry.
  • Train the future workforce of scientists in rural Minnesota agriculture.