Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Rebecca Johnson AM

Associate Director for Science

Dr. Rebecca Johnson is the Associate Director for Science and Chief Scientist at the National Museum of Natural History. She is responsible for overall leadership and administration of the museum’s research and collections activities. She oversees seven scientific departments comprising over 300 staff; the Laboratory of Analytical Biology; the Collections Program (care, registration, digitization); Academic Services to interns, graduate students, fellows, research associates and collaborators, and emeritus scientists; high-level liaison and hosting of resident Federal Agencies (USDA, Commerce, Interior, Defense); numerous cross-cutting strategic science initiatives; and field stations (Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce and Carrie Bow Cay, Belize).

Rebecca is a wildlife forensic scientist and conservation geneticist who most recently served as the Director of the Australian Museum Research Institute and Chief Scientist of the Australian Museum. As chief investigator of the Koala Genome Consortium she has significantly advanced scientific knowledge and contributed to management recommendations for this iconic Australian species.

Rebecca has an honors degree from the University of Sydney and PhD from La Trobe University Melbourne in the field of molecular evolutionary genetics and has worked as a molecular geneticist in Australia and the United States. Rebecca also holds the titles of adjunct Professor at the University of Sydney, conjoint Professor at the University of NSW and spent four months at Kyoto University in 2019 as a visiting Professor.

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