Rudolph Johnson, PhD, is the chief of the Emergency Response Branch (ERB) at CDC's Division of Laboratory Sciences, National Center for Environmental Health. Dr. Johnson oversees the development and implementation of diagnostic laboratory methods for measuring human exposure to chemical agents and toxins. His responsibilities include leadership of the Laboratory Response Network for Chemical Threats (LRN-C), which includes 45 partner state public health laboratories. In addition, Dr. Johnson directs biomedical laboratory testing to support the Chemical Weapons Convention, in the Hague, Netherlands. Before assuming the role of branch chief in 2013, Dr. Johnson worked as a section chief, and team leader of the Chemical Terrorism Methods Development Group for 10 years.
Dr. Johnson also supervises CDC’s emergency laboratory response for human exposures to chemical agents. ERB provides laboratory support to identify the causative chemical agent following a suspected human exposure and conducts the Division of Laboratory Science's Rapid Toxic Screen. ERB maintains readiness through routine exercises, proficiency testing, and Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act (CLIA) audits. ERB tests samples from several sources, including other federal partners and state public health departments.
Dr. Johnson received his PhD in Chemistry from Purdue University. He studied under Dr. Graham Cooks, an award-winning professor and researcher in mass spectrometry. Dr. Johnson’s thesis was on the development of real-time testing using mass spectrometry. Dr. Johnson received his undergraduate degree in laboratory robotics from Virginia Military Institute. Prior to working at CDC, Dr. Johnson worked at BASF Corporation, focusing on multidisciplinary projects involving small molecule synthesis and product development, specifically, dispersions, coatings, and pharmaceutical products.