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Education and Training

Education and Training
Year(s), Degree, Major, Institution/Location

Post-Graduate Training
Year(s), Degree, Institution/Location


Professor Johnson is a licensed physician and board-certified psychiatrist throughout Europe and in the United States. In 1982, he graduated from the University of Glasgow in Scotland with an MBChB, which is the qualifying degree for a physician in the United Kingdom. He trained in psychiatry at the Royal London and Maudsley, as well as Bethlem Royal Hospitals. In 1991, Professor Johnson graduated from the University of London with a Master of Philosophy (MPhil) in neuropsychiatry. He then went on to conduct doctoral research at Oxford University and obtained an MD in biomedical sciences from the University of Glasgow in 1993. In 2004, Professor Johnson earned a Doctor of Science (DSc, which is the highest doctoral degree that can be granted in science by a British university) in medicine from the University of Glasgow, specializing in neuroscience and neuropharmacology.  

A recipient of numerous awards and honors in his field, Professor Johnson received the Dan Anderson Research Award (2001) for his “distinguished contribution as a researcher who has advanced the scientific knowledge of addiction recovery.” He received the Distinguished Senior Scholar of Distinction Award in 2002 from the National Medical Association. Professor Johnson was also an inductee of the Texas Hall of Fame in 2003 for contributions to science, mathematics, and technology. In 2006, he received the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA’s) Distinguished Psychiatrist Lecturer Award. In 2007, he was named as a Fellow in the Royal College of Psychiatrists and, in 2008, he was elected to the status of Distinguished Fellow of the APA. In 2009, he received the APA’s Solomon Carter Fuller Award, honoring an individual who has pioneered in an area that has benefited significantly the quality of life for black people. In 2010, he was named as a Fellow in the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology.

In 2013, Professor Johnson received the Jack Mendelson Award from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Mendelson Award is bestowed annually to an outstanding alcohol investigator whose clinical research has made a substantial contribution to our understanding of alcoholism susceptibility, the effects of alcohol on the brain and other organs, and prevention and treatment of alcohol use disorders. 

Professor Johnson recently served for two years as field editor-in-chief of Frontiers in Psychiatry, and currently serves on the editorial boards of The American Journal of Psychiatry and Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, among others. In addition to reviewing for more than 30 journals in pharmacology, neuroscience, and the addictions, he has been published in more than 200 publications. He also has edited three books: Drug Addiction and Its Treatment: Nexus of Neuroscience and BehaviorHandbook of Clinical Alcoholism Treatment, and Addiction Medicine: Science and Practice, which is currently being updated.

Research/Clinical Keywords

Addiction, Brain Science, Psychopharmacology, Forensic Psychiatry

Highlighted Publications

Anton RF, O'Malley SS, Ciraulo DA, Cisler RA, Couper D, Donovan DM, Gastfriend DR, Hosking JD, Johnson BA, LoCastro JS, Longabaugh R, Mason BJ, Mattson ME, Miller WR, Pettinati HM, Randall CL, Swift R, Weiss RD, Williams LD, & Zweben A. (2006). Combined pharmacotherapies and behavioral interventions for alcohol dependence: The COMBINE study: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of the American Medical Association, 295(17), 2003-2017.

Johnson BA, Ait-Daoud N, Bowden CL, et al. (2003). Oral topiramate for treatment of alcohol dependence: A randomised controlled trial. Lancet, 361(9370), 1677-1685.

Johnson BA, Rosenthal N, Capece JA, et al. (2007). Topiramate for treating alcohol dependence: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of the American Medical Association, 298(14), 1641-1651.

Johnson BA, Roache JD, Javors MA, et al. (2000). Ondansetron for reduction of drinking among biologically predisposed alcoholic patients: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of the American Medical Association, 284(8), 963-971.

Additional Publication Citations

Selected publications from more than 200

  • Johnson BA, Ait-Daoud N, Bowden CL, et al. Oral topiramate for treatment of alcohol dependence: a randomised controlled trial. Lancet. 2003;361(9370):1677-1685.
  • Johnson BA. Recent advances in the development of treatments for alcohol and cocaine dependence: focus on topiramate and other modulators of GABA or glutamate function. CNS Drugs. 2005;19(10):873-896.
  • Johnson BA, Ait-Daoud N, Akhtar FZ, et al. Use of oral topiramate to promote smoking abstinence among alcohol-dependent smokers: a randomized controlled trial. Arch Intern Med. 2005;165(14):1600-1605.
  • Johnson BA, Roache JD, Ait-Daoud N, et al. A preliminary randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of the safety and efficacy of ondansetron in the treatment of cocaine dependence. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2006;84(3):256-263.
  • Johnson BA, Roache JD, Ait-Daoud N, et al. Effects of acute topiramate dosing on methamphetamine-induced subjective mood. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2007;10(1):85-98.
  • Johnson BA, Rosenthal N, Capece JA, et al. Topiramate for treating alcohol dependence: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2007;298(14):1641-1651.
  • Johnson BA, Ait-Daoud N, Elkashef AM, et al. A preliminary randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of the safety and efficacy of ondansetron in the treatment of methamphetamine dependence. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2008;11(1):1-14.
  • Breslin FJ, Johnson BA, Lynch WJ. Effect of topiramate treatment on ethanol consumption in rats. Psychopharmacology. 2010;207(4):529-534.
  • Johnson BA, Ait-Daoud N. Topiramate in the new generation of drugs: efficacy in the treatment of alcoholic patients. Curr Pharm Des. 2010;16(19):2103-2112.
  • Johnson BA, Ait-Daoud N, Seneviratne C, et al. Pharmacogenetic approach at the serotonin transporter gene as a method of reducing the severity of alcohol drinking [published correction appears in Am J Psychiatry. 2011;168(7):756]. Am J Psychiatry. 2011;168(3):265-275.
  • Lynch WJ, Bond C, Breslin FJ, Johnson BA. Severity of drinking as a predictor of efficacy of the combination of ondansetron and topiramate in rat models of ethanol consumption and relapse. Psychopharmacology. 2011;217(1):3-12.
  • Elkashef A, Kahn R, Yu E, Iturriaga E, Li S-H, Anderson A, Chiang N, Ait-Daoud N, Weiss D, McSherry F, Serpi T, Rawson R, Hrymoc M, Weis D, McCann M, Pham T, Stock C, Dickinson R, Campbell J, Gorodetzky C, Haning W, Carlton B, Mawhinney J, Li MD, Johnson BA. Topiramate for the treatment of methamphetamine addiction: a multi-center placebo-controlled trial [published correction appears in Addiction. 2012;107(9):1718]. Addiction. 2012;107(7):1297-1306.
  • Johnson BA, Roache JD, Ait-Daoud N, et al. Topiramate’s effects on cocaine-induced subjective mood, craving and preference for money over drug taking. Addict Biol. 2013;18(3):405-416.
  • Ma JZ, Johnson BA, Yu E, et al. Fine-grain analysis of the treatment effect of topiramate on methamphetamine addiction with latent variable analysis. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2013;130(1-3):45-51.
  • Johnson BA, Ait-Daoud N, Wang X-Q, et al. Topiramate for the treatment of cocaine addiction: a randomised clinical trial. JAMA Psychiatry. 2013;70(12):1338-1346.

Research Interests

Professor Johnson's primary area of research expertise is the psychopharmacology of medications for treating addictions. He has led many important projects and initiatives in the field of medications development, and has served on the external advisory boards of both NIAAA and NIDA for this purpose. In addition, he has published over 140 articles in this area to contribute to and propel scientific research within the community, and has further pioneered the psychopharmacological development of topiramate and ondansetron as pharmacotherapy tools to treat both alcohol and cocaine dependence. 

Clinical Specialty Details

Professor Johnson is a principal investigator on NIH-funded research studies using neuroimaging, neuropharmacology, and molecular genetics techniques. He also serves on numerous NIH review and other committees, including special panels.

His primary area of research expertise is the psychopharmacology of medications for treating addictions. His clinical expertise is in the fields of addiction, biological, and forensic psychiatry. Professor Johnson’s current research incorporates neuroimaging evaluations into his drug interaction studies to identify the site-specific effects of abused drugs and to evaluate the effectiveness of potential medications for the treatment of addiction. 

From the perspective of the administration of clinical and human laboratory studies, Professor Johnson has extensive experience with performing pharmacotherapy trials to explore alcohol, nicotine, cocaine, and methamphetamine dependence; and, he has studied more than 2,000 demographically varied patients (in more than 15 different clinical trials) in the last decade for these indications. Professor Johnson is also pioneering effective personalized approaches to treat alcohol use disorders.

In addition, as part of his active community outreach efforts, Professor Johnson was appointed as a member of the Heroin and Opioid Emergency Task Force to strengthen the prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts to address and combat the ongoing heroin and opioid epidemic across the state. 

Awards and Affiliations


  • 1974, Prizes in French and English Literature
  • 1975, Prizes for Biology and Chemistry
  • 1978, Distinction in Biology, University of Glasgow
  • 1981, Distinction for Series of Psychiatric Case Studies of Schizophrenic Families, University of Glasgow
  • 1980-1982, National Scholarship
  • 1991-1993, Wellcome Research Scientist Development Award, United Kingdom
  • 1991-present, Best Doctors in the United Kingdom
  • 1998, Finalist, at the XXIst Collegium Internationale Neuro-psychopharmacologicum Congress Young Psychopharmacologist Award
  • 1998-2002, NIAAA Clinical and Treatment Research Study Section (AA-3) Member
  • 1999, U.S. Govt./NIAAA representative to establish bi-national collaborative research links with South Africa
  • 2001, Dan Anderson Research Award, Hazelden Foundation
  • 2002, Chairman, NIAAA Alcohol Research Center Applications (ZAA1 BB, 73)
  • 2002, Senior Scholar of Distinction, National Medical Association
  • 2003-present, Examiner for American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
  • 2003, Inductee, Texas Hall of Fame for Science, Mathematics and Technology
  • 2003, Inductee, Faces of the Medical Community
  • 2003, Adolf Meyer Research Award, Third Annual Bexar County Family Support Conference
  • 2004-2007, Appointed to the National Advisory Council for NIH/NIDA
  • 2004-2007, Member, Medications Development Subcommittee of NIDA’s Advisory Council on Drug Abuse
  • 2004-present, Member, Extramural Advisory Board for NIH/NIAAA
  • 2005-2009, Member, Medications Development Scientific Advisory Board for NIH/NIDA
  • 2006, American Psychiatric Association, Distinguished Psychiatrist Lecturer Award (for outstanding achievement in the field of psychiatry as an educator, researcher, and clinician)
  • 2006-present, NIH Roadmap Consultant
  • 2007-present, Fellow, Royal College of Psychiatrists (F.R.C.Psych.)
  • 2007, 2009-2010, Listed in Best Doctors in America® (Best Doctors, Inc.)
  • 2008-present, Distinguished Fellow, American Psychiatric Association
  • 2009, American Psychiatric Association, Solomon Carter Fuller Award (honoring an individual who has pioneered in an area that has benefited significantly the quality of life for Black people)
  • 2010-present, Fellow, American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
  • 2013, Jack Mendelson Award, NIAAA


  • 1986-present, Member, British Association of Psychopharmacologists
  • 1989-present, Member, British Neuropsychiatry Association
  • 1989-2005, 2010-present, Fellow, Royal Society of Medicine
  • 1994-present, Active Member, New York Academy of Sciences
  • 1995-present, Member, American Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology
  • 1995, Member, Research Society on Alcoholism
  • 1995-present, Member, Society for Neuroscience
  • 1997-present, Member, The College on Problems of Drug Dependence
  • 1997-present, Fellow, Collegium Internationale Neuro-psychopharmacologicum
  • 1999-present, Member, American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
  • 1999-present, Diplomate Member, The American College of Forensic Examiners Institute
  • 2000-2006, Member, Texas Society of Psychiatric Physicians
  • 2000-present, Member, American Psychiatric Association
  • 2001-present, Member, Society of Biological Psychiatry
  • 2002-present, Member, The Science Advisory Board
  • 2003-present, Member, International Society for Biomedical Research on Alcoholism
  • 2007-present, Member, Old Dominion Medical Society
  • 2007-present, Member, National Academy of Neuropsychology
  • 2008-present, Distinguished Fellow, American Psychiatric Association
  • 2010-present, Member, Association for Psychological Science
  • 2013-present, Fellow, American College of Forensic Examiners Institute
  • 2014-present, Member, Association for Academic Minority Physicians
  • 2015-present, Lifetime Member, American Board of Disability Analysts
  • 2016-present, FacultyRow Member 

Grants and Contracts

  • “Pharmacologic Treatments in Emerging Adults”
    NIAAA 5R01AA010522
  • “New Pharmacotherapy for Alcohol and Co-Morbid Disorders”
    NIAAA  5R01AA019720
  • “Pharmacogenetic Treatments for Alcoholism”
    NIAAA 1R01AA021163

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