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Vanessa Johnson, Ph.D.

Vanessa Johnson vjohnson@nova.edu

Honors Engagement

  • Active participant in Honors College events

Research Focus

  • FMR1 Gene changes and modifiers
  • Fragile X Syndrome and other Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Epigenomics
  • Health equity and community empowerment through active engagement

Education

  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Clinical Genetics Research, University of Iowa
  • Ph.D., Oklahoma State University
  • M.S., University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center 
  • BSN, Oral Roberts University

Vanessa Johnson, Ph.D., is the Director of Research and Associate Professor in the at NSU’s Assaf College of Nursing.  Dr. Johnson earned her Ph.D. in Human Environmental Sciences at Oklahoma State University with an emphasis in Human Development and Family Science with a focus on assessment and early diagnosis of FMR1 gene changes.  Her dissertation work explored the development of a Biopsychosocial Screening Inventory for Fragile X (BIPSSI-FX).  She completed Postdoctoral Training at the University of Iowa, where she studied incidental findings associated with genetic testing, and she collaborated with an Iowa Testing Center psychometrician to further validate the BIPSSI-FX.  Dr. Johnson has researched Fragile X Syndrome (FXS) and other Autism Spectrum Disorders for the past 20 years.  FMR1 gene changes provide an excellent paradigm for studying the multi-systemic complexity of neuropsychiatric disorders across the lifespan.  Her beginning FXS associated research was met with a commonly experienced challenge of facilitating equitable representation of diverse racial and ethnic groups in genomic research.  This persistent gap consequently fueled her a foci of her program of research, empowering parents as “frontline screeners” to collaborate with health care professionals and community leaders to facilitate earlier diagnosis and treatment of genetic, developmental disabilities.

Her program of research emphasizes empowering parents as “frontline screeners” to collaborate with health care professionals and community leaders to facilitate earlier screening, diagnosis, and treatment of genetic, developmental disabilities.

Dr. Johnson serves as a member of the international and interprofessional National Fragile X Foundation’s Scientific and Clinical Advisory Committee.

Lastly, Dr. Johnson's passionate interest in human development and behavior and a genuine belief in the necessity of empowering underserved and vulnerable community members for positive health outcomes motivates her to use an integrative, interdisciplinary approach to research and teaching.  She has taught at the undergraduate and graduate level, in private and public Universities for over 28 years.

Dr. Johnson serves as chair and member of dissertation committees.  She also teaches Theory Development and the undergraduate level, Genetics in Nursing Practice course.

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