The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) honored Bruce Johnson with this year’s Award for Education in Neuroscience. The prize recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to neuroscience education and training.
Johnson is a senior research associate in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior. For three decades, he has led the department’s Principles of Neurophysiology course, in which students receive hands-on instruction in principles and methods in neurophysiology, like those that allow scientists to listen in on the electrical chatter between nerve cells. In 1996, with Ron Hoy and Bob Wyttenbach, Johnson developed a workshop that attracts international neuroscience educators to learn teaching methods in neurobiology using the invertebrate crayfish as a research model. “Project Crawdad,” a manual based on the course, now influences university courses around the country and abroad. The 21st century workshops continue as “CrawFly,” and now include optogenetic approaches to teaching laboratory neuroscience.
Johnson has advised hundreds of undergraduate students during his thirty years of teaching. He has twice been named the Most Influential Faculty Member by a graduating senior class, and was presented the John M. and Emily B. Clark Award for Distinguished Teaching. He has also been honored with the Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience (FUN) National Educator of the Year Award, as well as the FUN Career Service Award. Additionally, he has served as FUN President and is currently the editor-in-chief of the FUN Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education. His current research focuses on how networks of neurons generate movement.
SfN President Hollis Cline said of his win, "Dr. Johnson's commitment to teaching has benefited countless researchers, from those at the undergraduate level to graduate and beyond.” Cline praised Johnson for his dedication to instruction in his field.
SfN has also awarded this year’s prize to John Bekkers of the Australian National University. Johnson and Bekkers will receive their awards at SfN’s annual meeting, Neuroscience 2016, held Nov. 12-16 in San Diego.