Deborah L. Johnson, Ph.D.,
President & CEO of Keystone Symposia







Yvonne Psaila

Director, Marketing and Communications

Keystone Symposia on Molecular and Cellular Biology



Keystone Symposia Announces Dr. Deborah Johnson as New President and Chief Executive Officer


SILVERTHORNE, CO – October 30, 2018 – Dr. Deborah L. Johnson has been named President and Chief Executive Officer of Keystone Symposia. A nonprofit organization, Keystone Symposia convenes cutting-edge conferences in biomedical research that bring together leading scientific investigators around the world to advance scientific discovery and transformative innovation in biomedical research.  


The sixth head of the organization in its 46-year history, Dr. Johnson joins Keystone Symposia from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston where she served as Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology  and, previously, as Dean, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Before joining Baylor, she was Associate Dean for Graduate Affairs at the Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California.


“As the pace of research accelerates and new technologies open scientific opportunity, Dr. Johnson is uniquely poised to lead Keystone into the future. We are delighted to welcome her as our new CEO,”

said Dr. Gary Nabel, Chair of Keystone Symposia’s Board and Chief Scientific Officer at Sanofi. He added: “Throughout her career at esteemed institutions such as Baylor and USC, she has demonstrated a passion for scientific research and a commitment to mentoring, teaching and inclusion, all vital components of the Keystone Symposia mission. We thank Dr. Jane Peterson for her dedicated leadership of the organization over the past four years, expanding its global reach in Africa, Asia and Europe."


Dr. Johnson’s career has focused on gene regulation, specifically the role of RNA polymerases in the development of cancer. She has been a dedicated teacher/mentor and is internationally recognized for her leadership in the field.


In accepting her position, Dr. Johnson noted, “I am delighted to join Keystone Symposia, an organization that plays a vital and increasingly global role in catalyzing research, scientific communication and accessibility. As scientists evolve new ways of working and communicating, we hope to chart new frontiers for investigators and trainees that catalyze discovery and bring new insights that advance the treatment of human disease.”


Dr. Jane Peterson, the outgoing CEO who has worked closely with Dr. Johnson during this transition, commented, “I am honored to have served as CEO of Keystone Symposia, an outstanding organization that is truly unique in the life sciences. I am excited to leave it in the capable hands of Dr. Johnson who will no doubt keep Keystone at the cutting edge of scientific discovery.”



About Keystone Symposia


Keystone Symposia on Molecular and Cellular Biology, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, has been conducting internationally renowned, open scientific conferences since its founding as UCLA Symposia in 1972 and has been headquartered in Summit County, Colorado, USA since 1990.


Keystone Symposia will convene 59 face-to-face conferences in 2018-2019, most of which will take place between January and April 2019, on topics ranging from cancer and immunology to neuroscience and genomics. Registration fees are supplemented by generous financial support from corporate, foundation and individual donors as well as government grants. Donors also make possible scholarships for students and postdoctoral fellows, as well as travel grants for early-career investigators. In addition to convening conferences, Keystone Symposia is also exploring ways to leverage cutting-edge technologies to promote scientific communications, diversity and training. Its Virtual Keystone Symposia offerings of epanels, online scientific talks and virtual conference recaps serve to broaden scientific discourse and access globally.


More information about Keystone Symposia and Virtual Keystone Symposia can be found at www.keystonesymposia.org and virtual.keystonesymposia.org, respectively.