About Mike

About Mike Johnson:


Mike Johnson grew up in the 1950s on a small family farm in Willamette Valley, Oregon. His work was essential on the farm—and he started at an early age. Population was sparse, and the nearest neighbor was a mile away. He attended a two-room, eight-grade school with 50 local children.

Expectations for his future were not high. But this small community was gifted with some perceptive, encouraging teachers who soon noticed Mike’s special talent in mathematics. These kind and caring teachers changed Mike’s future—and imbued him with a deep appreciation for the work teachers do in shaping the future of our youth.

Besides the usual farm work—baling hay, tending livestock, irrigating crops—Mike learned to operate and repair farm equipment, and before long he also was working as a motorcycle mechanic after school. Mathematics was easy for him and all science intrigued him, and he pursued both during his academic career. He worked his way through Oregon State University as a lab technician and in 1969 received his degree in mathematics and computer science. He continued on to graduate school at the University of Connecticut, earning an M.S. in biochemistry and a Ph.D. in biophysics.

In 1973 Mike moved on to the University of Virginia as a postdoctoral fellow studying protein chemistry. Three years later, he became a Senior Staff Fellow at the National Institutes of Health in Clinical Endocrinology.

Albemarle County became his home in 1979 when he joined the faculty at University of Virginia. During his career he has authored over 300 scientific articles and edited over 20 books.

Mike is currently Professor Emeritus at the University of Virginia Department of Pharmacology and Vice President of the Gibbs Society of Biological Thermodynamics.

Mike has been involved in a wide range of community activities. In the 1990s he served as a motorcycle marshal for local bicycle races. In 1995 he attended the Albemarle County Citizens Police Academy. He holds a current Red Cross CPR certificate, and teaches firearms safety classes.

Mike worked with the Southwest Mountain community to ensure that Dominion Energy’s new power lines over the mountain were in keeping with the historic nature of the Southwest Mountain Rural Historic District. He also participated in County meetings concerning the Pantops development plans. Mike has spoken at a number of Albemarle County Supervisor meetings on other community issues, and he also attended Albemarle County’s recent series of “Climate Monday” meetings. Currently he is on the Board of Directors and membership chairman of the 1,900-member Rivanna Rifle & Pistol Club.

Mike is married (wife, Diane) and has two adult children and two grandchildren. Both of his adult children attended Albemarle schools and received their undergraduate degrees from the University of Virginia.

Mike and Diane live on a three-acre plot in the Southwest Mountains, which is part forest, part landscaping and part farm. They grow a variety of trees, vegetables and exotic herbs.

They have two dogs and two cats, and for seven years they raised bantam chickens. Mike and Diane have attracted and photographed over 30 different species of songbirds.

Mike’s mechanical ability serves him well on his beloved “farm.” And like other farmers in Albemarle County, he believes that farmers are the best stewards of their land.