Welcome to the Dark Side of Biology!

  • Science through art

    Undergraduate Erica Ursich constructed this masterful image with sidewalk chalk outside for UROP's sidewalk symposium based outside CU's library.

  • A day in the field

    The Johnson Lab joins collaborators from UCSF Medical School (Nadav Ahituv and Jingjing Zhao) in a study to understand how parasites change the development of their hosts using transcriptome approaches. 

  • Cat parasite linked to entrepreneurial career choices

    A new paper coauthored by Stefanie Johnson at the Leeds School of Business and Pieter Johnson links infection by a widespread parasite to entrepreneurial careers in CU students. The paper explores the connection between the protozoan Toxoplasma gondii and patterns of entrepreneurship in students, business professionals and nations. See press release here.

  • Congratulations Dr. Pieter Johnson for receiving the Henry Baldwin Ward Medal!

    The Henry Baldwin Ward Medal is the highest honor presented by the American Society of Parasitologists (ASP) and is named after its first president and the founder of the Journal of Parasitology. Dr. Janet Koprivnikar (pictured on right) introduced and presented the medal to Dr. Johnson in Cancun, Mexico during the 2018 ASP Annual Meeting.

  • Become a part of the Johnson Laboratory!

    The Johnson Laboratory at the University of Colorado is in search of exceptional graduate students

  • Meet the Niwot Ridge LTER Limnology Team

    Team members stand in front of Lake Albion, a subalpine lake in the Green Lakes Valley that contributes to 40% of Boulder's water supply.

Our research focuses on two pervasive and inter-related forms of biological change: disease emergence and species invasions. Both have important consequences not only for individuals and populations, but for entire ecological communities and ecosystem processes. Invasions and disease can also have costly economic and health repercussions for human society.  Our group strives to bring a broad perspective to these questions by combining field experiments, large-scale spatial and temporal field data, molecular tools and ecological modeling.

Disease Community Ecology


We apply approaches from community ecology to better understand and manage contemporary disease threats of humans and wildlife, which are often the product of interactions among multiple host species, coinfecting parasites, and other species

Our Troubled Waters

Hog Lake manipulation

Lakes, rivers, ponds and streams have become some of the most imperiled habitats on earth. Our group uses diverse tools ranging from genomics to ecosystem experiments to understand how freshwater systems are changing and at what cost

Complexity in Conservation


Effective management requires approaches than can measure, anticipate and ameliorate the consequences of interactive stressors, such as land use change, pollution, invasive species and climate shifts