Paul Johnston is Associate Professor in the department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Pharmacy at the University of Pittsburgh. He obtained a B.Sc. with Honors (2.1) (1978) and a Ph.D. (1983) in Biochemistry, from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England. Subsequent postdoctoral positions in the department of Pharmacology at the University of North Carolina, the Pathology department of Duke University, and at the Howard Hughes Institute of the University of Texas Southwestern have provided a diversity of experience in biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, immunology, protein purification and recombinant protein expression.
Dr Johnston has twenty four years of drug discovery experience in the Pharmaceutical, Biotechnology and academic sectors. In 1990 he joined American Cyanamid as a senior research Immunologist and project leader in drug discovery. Two years later he was recruited into the biotechnology sector by Embrex as a Group leader, and was later promoted to manager of discovery projects.
In 1997 he joined Sphinx Pharmaceuticals, which became Eli Lilly Research Triangle Park (Lilly-RTP), as a research scientist and was later promoted to research advisor. AT Lilly-RTP he directed an in vitro ADME/Tox hit characterization program and was an innovator of cell based approaches to lead generation and optimization, and pioneered the development and implementation of high content imaging technology to drug discovery. At Lilly, he led the development and implementation of 45 assays for high throughput screens and hit assessment campaigns that yielded hits for the lead generation efforts of 22 targets representing 4 therapeutic areas and diverse target classes; kinases, transporters, GPCR's, ion channels and multidrug resistance. To date these screens have produced 2 program sanctions, 6 leads, 1 ongoing hit-to-lead effort, and 3 ongoing hit assessment efforts.
He also directed the biology effort on three hit-to-lead optimization programs, and provided bioavailability information on hits and leads for 23 projects. In 2005, he joined the department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology and the University of Pittsburgh Drug Discovery Institute to design and build a high throughput screening center where he has led twenty one screening campaigns, and reconfigured the NCI 60 cell line assays for cancer drug combination screening. In 2011, Dr. Johnston joined the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences in the School of Pharmacy to establish chemical biology laboratories and continued his research in HTS/HCS assay development and implementation, and established collaborations throughout the scientific community.