Kennedy Krieger Institute and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Mike Johnston is a Professor of Neurology, Pediatrics and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore and the Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President of the Kennedy Krieger Institute, where he also holds the Blum Moser Endowed Chair for Pediatric Neurology named for Hugo Moser. Mike attended medical school at the University of Pittsburgh and then came to Hopkins for residencies in pediatrics and pediatric neurology. His first faculty job was at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and after 8 years he returned to his current post at Kennedy Krieger and Hopkins. His laboratory works on mechanisms of injury in the developing brain, especially the impact of excitotoxicity mediated by glutamate and his research includes both laboratory work and studies in the nursery on neuroprotection for hypoxic-ischemic brain injury. His work with Rett syndrome began through the influence of Professor Sakku Naidu who was beginning to study postmortem brain in RTT in the 1990’s. He became interested in Dr. Naidu’s work with RTT through many discussions with her and observing patients. His interest grew as he and Dr. Naidu developed hypotheses about the apparent hyperactivity in the girls and the possibility that glutamate mediated excitotoxicity and a defect in synaptic plasticity might play a role in the pathogenesis of RTT. This collaboration has also included Dr. Mary Blue who is also very interested in the neurobiology of Rett syndrome.