Leah Johnson has been named as an assistant professor in the Department of Statistics, part of the Virginia Tech College of Science.

She also is an affiliated faculty member of the Department of Biological Sciences, the Academy of Integrated Science computational modeling and data analytics program, as well as the Global Change Center at Virginia Tech.

Prior to arriving at Virginia Tech, she was an assistant professor of integrative biology at the University of South Florida.

Using mathematics and statistics to examine biological systems, Johnson’s research focuses on understanding how environmental conditions can impact the transmission of infectious diseases and how environment impacts the behavior, energetics, and population dynamics of animals.

Recent projects by Johnson explore how temperature will impact transmission of vector-borne diseases, including malaria, dengue, chikungunya, Zika, and citrus greening. Other work includes looking at the foraging strategies of the Antarctic albatross. She also designs methods for fitting complex models of biological systems to data.

She earned a bachelor's degree in physics from the College of William & Mary in 2001, and a master’s in physics in 2003 and doctoral degrees in applied mathematics and physics in 2006, all from the University of California Santa Cruz.

Johnson is one of 18 tenured and tenure-track faculty members to join the College of Science and its affiliated programs this year. The college is made up of eight departments, including biological sciences, chemistry, economics, geosciences, mathematics, physics, psychology, and statistics, in addition to the new Virginia Tech School of Neuroscience, and the Academy of Integrated Science. The academy includes programs in nanoscience, computational modeling and data analytics, systems biology, the Integrated Science Curriculum, and the science, technology, and law minor.

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