Wisconsin Discovery Portal

Researcher: Eric Johnson

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Areas of Expertise
  • Clostridium botulinum and its toxins
  • Food and industrial microbiology
  • Safety of new food processing procedures
  • Use of naturally occuring antimicrobials in foods
  • Interspecies transfer of the gene coding for botulinum toxins
  • Regulation of expression of botulinum toxins
  • Purification, stabilization, and characterization of botulinum toxins
  • Development of botulinum toxin as a pharmaceutical
  • Characterization and application in foods of naturally occurring antimicrobials, including lactoperoxidase, lactoferrin, monoglycerides, polyacetylenes, lysozyme, and other lytic enzymes
  • Behavior and control of Listeria monocytogenes in foods
  • Control of pathogens in reduced fat cheeses
Web Site Eric Johnson's Department of Bacteriology Website
Curriculum Vitae (CV)
Issued Patent(s)
  • 9,217,172 - Compositions and methods for toxigenicity testing, issued December 2015.
  • 8,778,623 - Compositions and methods of using differentiated cells sensitized to botulinum neurotoxin, issued July 2014.
  • 8,440,204 - Subtype of closteridium botulinum neurotoxin type a and uses thereof , issued May 2013.
  • 8,329,423 - Device and methods for liquid crystal-based bioagent detection, issued December 2012.
USPTO Published Applications
  • 20140255376 - Regulation of specific spinal neurons regulating pain transmission, published September 2014.
  • 20140106458 - Conjugative plasmids and methods of use thereof, published April 2014.
  • 20140065668 - Plasmid-encoded neurotoxin genes in clostridium botulinum serotype a subtypes, published March 2014.
  • 20120164657 - Method of detecting botulinum neurotoxin and antibodies that neutralize botulinum neurotoxin action, published June 2012.
  • 20110183357 - Device and methods for liquid crystal-based bioagent detection, published July 2011.
Recent Publication(s)
  • Interneuronal transfer and distal action of tetanus toxin and botulinum neurotoxins a and d in central neurons. Bomba-Warczak E, Vevea JD, Brittain JM, Figueroa-Bernier A, Tepp WH,Johnson EA, Yeh FL, Chapman ER. Cell Rep. 2016 Aug 16;16(7):1974-87. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2016.06.104. Epub 2016 Aug 4.

  • Cellular protection of snap-25 against botulinum neurotoxin/a: Inhibition of thioredoxin reductase through a suicide substrate mechanism. Seki H, Xue S, Pellett S, Šilhár P, Johnson EA, Janda KD. J Am Chem Soc. 2016 May 4;138(17):5568-75. doi: 10.1021/jacs.5b12929. Epub 2016 Apr 20.

  • A novel botulinum neurotoxin, previously reported as serotype h, has a hybrid-like structure with regions of similarity to the structures of serotypes a and f and is neutralized with serotype a antitoxin. Maslanka SE, Lúquez C, Dykes JK, Tepp WH, Pier CL, Pellett S, Raphael BH, Kalb SR, Barr JR, Rao A, Johnson EA. J Infect Dis. 2016 Feb 1;213(3):379-85. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiv327. Epub 2015 Jun 10.

  • Purification and characterization of botulinum neurotoxin fa from a genetically modified clostridium botulinum strain. Pellett S, Tepp WH, Bradshaw M, Kalb SR, Dykes JK, Lin G, Nawrocki EM, Pier CL, Barr JR, Maslanka SE, Johnson EA. mSphere. 2016 Feb 24;1(1). pii: e00100-15. doi: 10.1128/mSphere.00100-15. eCollection 2016 Jan-Feb.
Recent Artistic Works
  • Intra-University Collaboration: Food Microbiology and Toxicology, Chemistry, Biomedical Engineering
  • New York University, Pharmacology
  • Food Research Institute
  • Medical College of Wisconsin, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
  • University of Texas, Cellular and Molecular Biology, Molecular Genetics, Microbiology
  • Rice University, Biochemistry, Cellular Biology
Research Tools
Research Facilities
E-mail Address [email protected]
Phone Number 608-263-7944
Current University UW–Madison
Department Bacteriology
Title Professor
Other Appointments
Address Line 1 6303 Microbial Sciences
Address Line 2 1550 Linden Drive
City Madison
State WI
Zip Code 53706
Bachelor's Degree B.S., University of California-Davis, Fermentation Science, 1976
Master's Degree M.S., University of California-Davis, Food Science, 1978
PhD Sc.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1983
Other Degrees
Technologies Available for Licensing Long-Lasting Chimeric Botulinal Toxins

Method of Targeting Pharmaceuticals to Motor Neurons

Device and Methods for Liquid Crystal-Based Bioagent Detection

Novel Subtype of Botulinum Toxin For Pharmaceutical Use

Novel Subtype of Botulinum Toxin for Prolonged Effectiveness

Sensitive Assay for Detecting Botulinum Neurotoxin, Neutralizing Antibodies or Inhibitors

Long-Lasting, Non-Narcotic Protein for Treatment of Acute or Chronic Pain

Novel Bacteria Strain to Protect Growing Alfalfa

Non-Toxic Clostridium Botulinum Strains for Assessing Botulinal Food Safety