Noah Johnson, PhD - Research Assistant Professor


Headshot of Noah Johnson

Contact Information



PhD, University of Pittsburgh

Post-doc, University of California, San Francisco


Noah Johnson, PhD, is a Research Assistant Professor in the University of Colorado Alzheimer’s and Cognition Center (CUACC) within the Department of Neurology and Research Faculty in the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome (LCI). His research at the CUACC and the LCI has focused on the essential role of the glial-derived inflammatory molecule apolipoprotein E (apoE) in the pathogenic cascade of Alzheimer’s disease, Down syndrome, and other neurodegenerative diseases. Inheriting the apoE4 allele is the greatest risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s disease besides age itself. Dr. Johnson has developed high-throughput screening (HTS) methods to identify inhibitors of apoE4 and has evaluated the potential of these candidate drugs as repurposed therapeutics for Alzheimer’s disease. Indeed, his study of the apoE and its role in catalyzing the formation of neurotoxic amyloid filaments in the Alzheimer’s brain identified two apoE inhibitors that are FDA-approved drugs for other neurological indications. Then, a retrospective analysis of the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Committee (NACC) clinical data set showed that the use of either drug was associated with improved cognition and clinical diagnosis in Alzheimer’s disease patients. The most promising drug is currently being tested in animal models of Alzheimer’s disease, and a human clinical trial is also being planned.

Dr. Johnson also directs the human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC) and cerebral organoid (minibrains grown in culture) programs within the CUACC. His team has developed new hiPSC and human brain tissue models derived from skin cells of donors with Alzheimer’s, Down syndrome, and normal cognition. He has already made several important discoveries related to convergent phenotypes of Alzheimer’s disease and Down syndrome recapitulated in cerebral organoids, and is using these models to test additional promising therapies for neurodegenerative diseases.

Recent Publications

Johnson NR, Wang ACJ, Coughlan C, Sillau S, Lucero E, Viltz L, Markham N, Allen C, Dhanasekaran AR, Chial HJ, Potter H. (2022) Imipramine and olanzapine block apoE4-catalyzed polymerization of Aβ and show evidence of improving Alzheimer’s disease cognition. Alz Res Ther. 14(1):88. PMID: 35768831, PMCID: PMC9241285.

Johnson NR, Yuan P, Castillo E, Lopez TP, Yue W, Bond A, Rivera BM, Sullivan MC, Hirouchi M, Giles K, Aoyagi A, Condello C. (2023) CSF1R inhibitors induce a sex-specific resilient microglial phenotype and functional rescue in a tauopathy mouse model. Nat Commun. 14(1):118. PMID: 36624100, PMCID: PMC9829908.

Johnson NR. (2022) Tau acetylation reduces its autophagic degradation and is a targetable pathway for human tauopathies. BioEssays. 44(6):2200062. PMID: 35445427.

Wong DR, Conrad J, Johnson NR, Ayers J, Laeremans A, Lee JC, Lee J, Prusiner SB, Bandyopadhyay S, Butte AJ, Paras NA, Keiser MJ. (2022) Trans-channel fluorescence learning improves high-content screening for Alzheimer’s disease therapeutics. Nat Mach Intell. 4:583–595. PMID: 36276634, PMCID: PMC9585544.

Ahmed MM, Johnson NR, Boyd T, Coughlan C, Chial HJ, and Potter H. (2021) The Role of Innate Immune System Activation and Neuroinflammation in Down Syndrome: Therapeutic Targets or Partners? Front Aging Neurosci. 13:718426. PMID: 34603007, PMCID: PMC8481947.

Lucero EM, Freund RK, Johnson NR, Dooling B, Sullivan E, Prikhodko O, Ahmed MM, Dell'Acqua ML, Chial HJ, Potter H. (2022) Increased KIF11/kinesin-5 expression offsets Alzheimer Aβ-mediated toxicity and cognitive dysfunction. iScience. 25(11):105288. PMID: 36304124, PMCID: PMC9593841.

Rocker AJ, Cavasin M, Johnson NR, Shandas R, Park D. (2022) A Sulfonated Thermoresponsive Injectable Gel for Sequential Release of Therapeutic Proteins to Protect Cardiac Function After a Myocardial Infarction. ACS Biomater Sci Eng. 8(9):3883–3898. PMID: 35950643.

Complete List of Published Work in MyBibliography


CMS Login