By Todd Taylor
The University of Florida neuroscience community is mourning the loss of Sarah A. Johnson, Ph.D., a beloved colleague who died Jan. 28.
Known as “SJ,” Johnson, 38, joined UF’s department of neuroscience in 2014 as a postdoctoral fellow with a research focus on investigating the effects of aging on neural function and worked under the mentorship of Sara Burke, Ph.D., associate director of UF’s Center for Cognitive Aging and Memory, or CAM Center. Johnson published dozens of research papers and earned numerous awards, including a K99/R00 grant from the National Institute of Aging.
In 2020, Johnson accepted a position as an assistant professor of neuroscience at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in Chicago.
During her time at UF, Johnson took a leadership role mentoring undergraduate and graduate students, and her intellect, fearlessness, tenacity, kindness and generosity left a lasting impact on UF’s neuroscience community.
In her honor, the CAM Center and UF’s McKnight Brain Institute, or MBI, are co-sponsoring a named annual award that will recognize one postdoctoral fellow and one assistant professor who exemplify Johnson’s passion for research and dedication to mentorship.
“One of MBI’s roles in our UF community is to educate the next generation of neuroscientists. SJ embodied that mission with passion,” said Jada Lewis, Ph.D., deputy director of the MBI. “We are saddened to have lost her within our community and for the loss of the next generation of neuroscientists who won’t benefit from her wisdom and dedication. To honor her legacy, we have partnered with CAM to recognize a postdoc and an assistant professor who will carry on SJ’s commitment to mentorship in neuroscience.”
**If you would like to share your memories or photos of SJ, please submit them here and we will incorporate them into this post.
Read SJ’s obituary and learn about a memorial fund created in her honor.