SETAC Globe - Environmental Quality Through Science
  15 August 2013
Volume 14 Issue 8

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In Memoriam: Kevin A. Johnson

Rami Naddy, AECOM

On 24 June 2013 Kevin Johnson passed away unexpectedlywhile on vacation in Manila, The Philippines. He was 44 years old.

Kevin was very active in SETAC. He regularly attended regional and national meetings while presenting his laboratory’s research, and served in the Chemistry Advisory Group (CAG). His distinguished career as a teacher and researcher concentrated on the subjects of environmental chemistry and toxicology.

Kevin was born on 11 December 1968 in Los Angeles, Calif., where he spent most of his childhood. He and his family lived in Paris, France for two years before settling in the Northern Idaho region where he finished high school.

Kevin obtained his B.S. in Environmental Toxicology from the University of California at Davis (1992) and his Ph.D. in Environmental Toxicology from Clemson University (1996) under the direction of Carol P. Weisskopf. He was also a Postdoctoral Research Associate with Carol in her laboratory at Washington State University between 1996 and 1997. Kevin became a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville (SIUE) in 1997, rising to the rank of professor in 2008. In addition to mentoring undergraduate and graduate students at SIUE, he also served in a number of administrative capacities; he was associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences (2006-2010), interim director of the Center for STEM (2009-2010), and director of the Environmental Sciences Program (2010-2013). Kevin worked on proposals to initiate two undergraduate degrees in forensics (field and laboratory), two undergraduate degrees in environmental sciences (health and toxicology), and on an interdisciplinary working group to create Baccalaureate of Health Sciences degrees, drafting a plan for the degrees to evolve into a new of School of Health Sciences. He was the driving force behind the construction of a new on-campus science building and the renovation of the old facility.

Kevin distinguished himself as a nationally and internationally recognized expert on contaminant movement, degradation, and effects in the environment. He also evaluated the environmental fate, mass transport, ecotoxicity of insecticides. Kevin applied these principles to critically assess exposure of wildlife, bioaccumulation of contaminants, and the amelioration of co-contaminated point- and non-point source water through the use of vegetative filter strips and/or constructed flow-through wetlands. He developed a number of methods for passive sampling, evaluated factors affecting the bioavailability of contaminants in soils, and developed methods to extract and analyze contaminants in traditionally difficult matrices. He was recently working on the use of critical body residues in ecological risk assessments in lieu of standardized toxicity data, and method development for a novel extraction technique in turtle blood and its use as a biomonitoring tool for pharmaceuticals. His research was supported by many grants awarded by multiple agencies.

Kevin’s research and teaching efforts were recognized by numerous accolades that included Outstanding Ph.D. Candidate of the Year (1995-1996), Outstanding Instructor of the Year (1995-1996), and the Sigma Xi Distinguished Research Award (2000). He also served as member of the editorial board for Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, since 1998, and peer-reviewer of the European Science Foundation since 2005. Kevin had more than 25 peer-review manuscripts including publications in conference peer-reviewed proceedings and book chapters. Kevin was also a steering committee member for the implementation of the CAG. His leadership in that group facilitated many of the contributions that the CAG has recently made to SETAC.

In his free time, Kevin loved to travel and took every opportunity he could to scuba dive. He was passionate in all of his endeavors and driven to succeed, but all the time maintaining a sense of humor about life and the little things happening around him.

Johnson, also known as Kevin or KJ to his friends, will be greatly missed. He is survived by his father, Dohn Johnson, his brother, Dohn Johnson Jr., his sister-in-law, Carol Johnson and his nephews and niece, Joshua, Jessica, Dohn III, and Benjamin. His mother, Elizabeth Misner Johnson, preceded him in death.

SETAC has setup a Student Travel Award in honor of Kevin.

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