Professor Eustace Johnson

Professor in Stem Cells & Regenerative Biology

Prof Eustace Johnson qualified in Biology (BSc: 1991) and Immunology (MSc:1993 & PhD:1998).




Before taking up post-doctoral posts at the Robert Jones & Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital-Oswestry (1998-2002), the University of Kentucky-Lexington (2002; awarded the McNab/Larocca Fellowship) and Keele University (2003-2009), where he was a Lecturer in Regenerative Medicine and Principal Cell Biologist for the RJAH Hospital, working on cell therapies in orthopaedics (from 2007-2009).

He joined Aston University as Senior Lecturer in January 2010, founding the successful MSc in Stem cells/Regenerative Medicine as Programme Director, prior to taking up a Chair in Stem Cells & Regenerative Biology at the University of Chester in Sept. 2015. Administrative roles at Chester include co-chairing the Research Committee for the Dept. of Biological Sciences and co-chairing the Faculty of Science & Engineering Research Ethics Committee.


BI4113 Introductory Microbiology & Immunology – Year I

BI5111 Biology of Disease – Year II

BI6124 Clinical Medicine & Immunology – Year III

Note: Prof Johnson is currently developing a new Masters programme in Stem Cells & Regenerative Biology at the University of Chester – please email him directly if you are interested in this degree programme


His group consists of several PhD students based within dedicated laboratory facilities for experimental cell biology, molecular biology, immunohistology and in vivo models of developmental biology and tissue regeneration (zebrafish and planaria). Prof Johnson has a long standing interest and expertise in MSC biology, particularly on the application of MSC secretomes to influence wound healing and tissue regeneration. His research has focussed on clinically relevant MSC populations for the devemopment of new cell therapies, particularly for patients with spinal cord injury.

The group collaborates extensively with scientific and clinical colleagues in the UK and abroad. Prof Johnson is a founding member of the Mercia Stem Cell Alliance (including universities in Aston, Birmingham, Keele, Manchester, Nottingham and Liverpool) and sits on the Steering Committee. Porf Johnson is a current Associate Partner for the DECIDE Marie Curie Training Network, which is led by Birmingham University. Prof Johnson has forged British Council/Indian Government funded links with Anna University in Chennai India to promote research and education into stem cell biology/regenerative medicines. 

New MRes project available for September 2016 start:

"Using induced pluripotent stem cell technology to get doves into Noah’s Ark"

Please email him directly if you are interested in this MRes project or in undertaking PhD studies (full time or part-time) in the field of stem cells and regenerative biology.


 Professor Eustace Johnson - lab team

Professor Eustace Johnson and his lab team

Published work

Recent publications (2010-date):

  • Begum S, Johnson WE, Worthington T, Martin R. (2016) The influence of pH and fluid dynamics on the antibacterial efficacy of 45S5 Bioglass. Biomed Mater (in press).
  • Watanabe S, Uchida K, Nakajima H, Matsuo H, Sugita D, Yoshida A, Honjoh K, Johnson WE, Baba H (2015). Early transplantation of mesenchymal stem cells after spinal cord injury relieves pain hypersensitivity through suppression of pain-related signaling cascades and reduced inflammatory cell recruitment. Stem Cells. 6: 1902-14.
  • Wai HA, Kawakami K, Wada H, Müller F, Vernallis AV, Brown G, Johnson WE (2015) The development and growth of tissues derived from cranial neural crest and primitive mesoderm is dependent on the ligation status of retinoic acid receptor (RAR) γ: evidence that RARγ functions to maintain stem/progenitor cells in the absence of retinoic acid. Stem Cells Dev. 24(4):507-19.
  • Kohli N, Wright KT, Jeys M, Snow M, Johnson WE (2015). An in vitro comparison of the incorporation, growth and chondrogenic potential of human bone marrow versus adipose tissue mesenchymal stem cells in clinically relevant cell scaffolds used for cartilage repair. Cartilage. 6(4):252-63.
  • Walter MN, Khan NS, Major T, Fuller HR, Kuiper JH, Wright KT, Johnson WE (2015) Human mesenchymal stem cells stimulate EaHy926 endothelial cell migration: combined proteomic and in vitro analysis of the influence of donor-donor variability. J Stem Cells Regen. Med. 11(1): p18-24.
  • Wright KT, Uchida K, Bara JJ, Roberts S, El Masri W, Johnson WE. (2014) Spinal motor neurite outgrowth over glial scar inhibitors is enhanced by co-culture with bone marrow stromal cells. Spine J 14(8): 1722-33.
  • Uchida K, Nakajima H, Guerrero AR,  Johnson WE, El Masri W, Baba H (2014) Gene therapy strategies for the treatment of spinal cord injury. Therapeutic Delivery 5(5): 591-607.
  • Bara JJ, McCarthy HE, Humphrey E, Johnson WE, Roberts S. (2014) Bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells become anti-angiogenic when chondrogenically or osteogenically differentiated: Implications for bone and cartilage tissue engineering. Tissue Eng Part A. 20 (1): 147-59.
  • Tan Y, Uchida K, Nakajima H, Guerrero AR, Watanabe S, MD, Hirai T, Takeura N, Yoshida A, Liu S-Y, Johnson WE, Baba H (2013) Blockade of Interleukin-6 Signaling Improves the Survival Rate of Transplanted Bone Marrow Stromal Cells and Increases Locomotory Function in Mice with Spinal Cord Injury. J .Neuropath Exper. Neurol. 72(10):980-93.
  • Hirai T, Uchida K, Nakajima H, Guerrero AR, Takeura N, Watanabe S, Sugita D, Yoshida A, Johnson WE, Baba H. (2013). The prevalence and phenotype of activated microglia/macrophages within the spinal cord of the hyperostotic mouse (twy/twy) changes in response to chronic progressive spinal cord compression: implications for human cervical compressive myelopathy. PLoS One. 8(5):e64528.
  • Jalili SH, Johnson WE. (2013) The Development of Cannabidiol as a Psychiatric Therapeutic: A Review of Its Antipsychotic Efficacy and Possible Underlying Pharmacodynamic Mechanisms. Int. Neuropsych. Disease J. 1 (2): 113-147.
  • Nakajima H, Uchida K, Rodriguez Guerrero A, Watanabe S, Sugita D, Takeura N, Yoshida A, Long G, Wright K, Johnson WE, Baba H. (2012) Transplantation of Mesenchymal Stem Cells Promotes the Alternative Pathway of Macrophage Activation and Functional Recovery after Spinal Cord Injury. J Neurotrauma. 29(8): 1614-25.
  • Guerrero AR, Uchida K, Nakajima H, Watanabe S, Nakamura M, Johnson WE, Baba H.  (2012)  Blockade of interleukin-6 signaling inhibits the classic pathway and promotes an alternative pathway of macrophage activation after spinal cord injury in mice. J Neuroinflammation. 27; 9:40.
  • Bara JJ, Johnson WE, Caterson B, Roberts S. (2012) Articular Cartilage Glycosaminoglycans Inhibit the Adhesion of Endothelial Cells. Connect Tissue Res. 53(3):220-8.
  • Uchida K, Nakajima H, Hirai T, Yayama T, Chen K, Guerrero AR, Johnson WE, Baba H. (2012) The Retrograde Delivery of Adenovirus Vector Carrying the Gene for Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor Protects Neurons and Oligodendrocytes from Apoptosis in the Chronically Compressed Spinal Cord of Twy/twy Mice. Spine 37(26):2125-35.
  • Uchida K, Yayama T, Sugita D, Nakajima H, Rodriguez Guerrero A, Watanabe S, Roberts S, Johnson WE, Baba H. (2012) Initiation and progression of ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament of the cervical spine in the hereditary spinal hyperostotic mouse (twy/twy). Eur Spine J. 21(1):149-55.
  • Uchida K, Nakajima H, Watanabe S, Yayama T, Guerrero AR, Inukai T, Hirai T, Sugita D, Johnson WE, Baba H. (2012) Apoptosis of neurons and oligodendrocytes in the spinal cord of spinal hyperostotic mouse (twy/twy): possible pathomechanism of human cervical compressive myelopathy. Eur Spine J. 21(3):490-7.
  • Wright KT, El Masri W, Osman A, Chowdhury J, Johnson WE (2011) Bone marrow for the treatment of spinal cord injury: mechanisms and clinical applications. Stem Cells. 29(2):169-78.
  • Lilly AJ, Johnson WE, Bunce CM (2011) The haematopoietic stem cell niche: new insights into the mechanisms regulating haematopoietic stem cell behaviour. Stem Cell Inter 2011: 274564. 
  • Stephan S, Johnson WE, Roberts S. (2011) The influence of nutrient supply and cell density on the growth and survival of intervertebral disc cells in 3D culture. Eur Cell Mater. 22:97-108.
  • Wright KT, Griffiths GJ, Johnson WEB (2010)  A comparison of high-content screening versus manual analysis to assay the effects of mesenchymal stem cell-conditioned medium on neurite outgrowth in vitro. J Biomol Screen. 15: 576-82.
  • Walter MN, Wright KT, Fuller HR, MacNeil S, Johnson WEB (2010) Mesenchymal stem cell-conditioned medium accelerates skin wound healing: an in vitro study of fibroblast and keratinocyte scratch assays. Exp Cell Res. 316: 1271-81.
  • Wright KT, Seabright R, Logan A, Lilly AJ, Khanim F, Bunce CM, Johnson WE (2010)  Extracellular Nm23H1 stimulates neurite outgrowth from dorsal root ganglia neurons in vitro independently of nerve growth factor supplementation or its nucleoside diphosphate kinase activity. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 398: 79-85.
  • Uchida K, Nakajima H, Hirai T, Yayama T, Chen KB, Kobayashi S, Roberts S, Johnson WE, Baba H. (2010) Microarray analysis of expression of cell death-associated genes in rat spinal cord cells exposed to cyclic tensile stresses in vitro. BMC Neurosci. 11: 84.