Mike Johnson

By September 19th, 2014


Mike Johnson obtained his BSc with First-Class Honours and majors in Biochemistry, Genetics and Physiology from Macquarie University in 1981 and completed his PhD on ‘Macropodid herpes viruses’ at Macquarie University in 1985.

From 1986 to 1988, he was a postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Microbiology, University of Sydney working on the expression of human rotavirus antigens in E. coli and Salmonella for vaccine purposes. This work was patented in 1989.

He joined the CSIRO Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL), Geelong in 1989 as a Research Scientist in the Avian Viral Vectors project in collaboration with the Australian pharmaceutical company Websters Ltd, working specifically on the development of vaccines for animal health. In 1993, he was appointed project leader of the Adenovirus Viral Vector Delivery program where for over ten years he led a research team of 4-5 people in the development of recombinant adenoviruses as vaccine vectors for diseases of poultry and pigs. In this role he developed the technology, filed and maintained the intellectual property, sort partners to commercialise the technology and made technical data presentations to international biopharma companies and venture capital investors.

From 2000 to 2003, Dr Johnson was involved with the formation of a spin-off company, Vectogen Ltd and acted as Chief Scientific Officer. This company had a license from CSIRO to exclusively commercialise the adenovirus platform technology. The technology is now being developed by the ASX listed company Imugene.

From July 2003 to March 2004, he led the Bioactive Delivery Project at AAHL and from March 2004 to April 2005 he was Project Manager of the Hepatitis C Vaccine Project at the Australian pharmaceutical company CSL Ltd.

In March 2005, he was appointed Adjunct Professor at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) and in August 2005 was appointed Manager of Diagnostics Services at AAHL.

Honours and awards

In 2002, Mike Johnson John Lowenthal and team members received a CSIRO Medal for Research Achievement for their work on the development of fowl adenovirus – chicken interferon gamma.


  • Johnson MA, 2009, Personal communication.
Find out more
  • Development company for antibiotic alternatives, 2002 (Media Release)
  • Imugene Ltd