People Zachary V. Johnson, Ph.D.

Zachary V. Johnson, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow
School of Biological Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology
Krone Engineered Biosystems Building, 3103

Zack earned his Ph.D. from Emory University in 2016. As a graduate student in Dr. Larry Young’s laboratory he investigated how patterns of neural activity are coordinated during social interactions using genetic, optogenetic, and neuroendocrine techniques. Zack’s interest in the evolution of social behavior naturally led him to pursue postdoctoral research in the Streelman and McGrath Labs, where he is studying the evolution of social behavior in Lake Malawi cichlid fishes. More specifically, Zack is interested in discovering the genetic and neural mechanisms that have given rise to species differences in a remarkable social behavior called bower building, where males congregate and build large courtship structures in the sand during the breeding season. He is developing automated tools for measuring this natural behavior in the laboratory, and is using cutting-edge sequencing technologies to understand
how patterns of gene expression in the brain are linked to natural species differences in behavior.