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Liz Johnson, assistant professor, Division of Nutritional Sciences

Academic focus: Gut microbiome, lipid metabolism, infant nutrition 

Previous positions: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Cornell University, 2014-18; visiting scholar, Columbia University, 2014-18

Academic background: B.S., biology, Spelman College, 2008; Ph.D., molecular biology, Princeton University, 2014

Last book read: "Thinking, Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman

What do you do when not working? Michael Jackson themed dance parties with my newborn son and trying to get a workout in here and there.

What gets you out of bed in the morning? Executing research that could have a true impact on dietary standards for infant and adult nutrition. Also, coffee. 

Current research projects?: My lab aims to understand how small lipid molecules produced by beneficial bacteria affect human health. Additionally, we are interested in how the lipid composition of breastmilk is able to influence the development of the infant microbiome.  

What are three adjectives people might use to describe you? Innovative, determined and engaging 

Course you’re most looking forward to teaching?: Diet and the microbiome.  I love this course because the material is engaging and the perfect backdrop for teaching the basics of modern molecular biology.  

If you had unlimited grant funding, what major problem in your field would you want to solve? How can we manipulate the gut microbiome to have consistent and positive effects on human health?  Or as my husband would put it "Can't you invent a probiotic that will let me eat this extra cheeseburger?"

What most excites you about Cornell CALS?:  The people. I couldn't ask for a better set of colleagues.  

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