Dr. Johnston co-founded HealthTell in 2010 with Dr. Neal Woodbury. Their goal was to translate the inventions/innovations they developed in diagnosis and peptide chip production to transform healthcare. Johnston co-directs with Woodbury the Center for Innovations in Medicine (CIM) at the Biodesign Institute. CIM is unique in its focus on inventing disruptive technologies in biomedicine. The mission is to contribute to the transformation of medicine through technologies that allow prevention, early detection and new therapeutic treatment of disease. Toward this goal CIM is focusing on developing three of his inventions. One project is to create a universal, preventative cancer vaccine. A second, based on immunosignaturing, which is a core technology for HealthTell, is to develop a system for continuous, comprehensive, cheap health monitoring. The third is based on an invention, synbodies, for making new therapeutics and targeted anti-infectives.
Johnston largely focuses on invention. He was inventor/ co-inventor of pathogen derived resistance, mitochondrial transformation, TEV protease system, the gene gun, gene immunization, expression library immunization, linear expression elements, synbodies and immunosignaturing. He was professor and director of the Center for Biomedical Inventions at UT-Southwestern Medical Center and Professor of Biology and Biomedical Engineering at Duke University before moving to ASU. He has started 3 companies, Eliance (now Macrogenics), HealthTell and Synbody Biotechnology.
Dr. Neal Woodbury is an advocate of interdisciplinary science as a means of providing researchers greater vision in addressing real-world problems. His body of published work includes more than 110 published articles, studies and patents. He had been a member of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Biophysics Panel for the past year; the NSF IGERT Panel; and an associate editor of Photochemistry and Photobiology. He has served as the Director of the Photosynthesis Center at ASU and is an active member of the American Chemical Society, Biophysical Society and American Photobiology Society. Dr. Woodbury is currently co-Director of the Center for Innovations in Medicine at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University as well as a faculty associate in the Center for Single Molecule Biophysics. He is a Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and also works on programs to develop energy research in collaboration with the Global Institute of Sustainability.
Dr. Woodbury was one of the conceptual founders of the Biodesign Institute and has served as the Director of the Center for BioOptical Nanotechnology, Deputy Director as well as the Chief Scientific Officer in the past. He coordinates multigroup efforts that address major problems in Health, Energy and National Security. For most of his career, he has studied the biophysical and spectroscopic properties of energy and electron transfer in photosynthetic pigments. Over the past ten years, he has also worked on highthroughput patterned chemical synthesis and the development of molecular libraries using such techniques. In 2010, Dr. Woodbury co-founded HealthTell alongside Dr. Stephen A. Johnston.