• Michele Johnson joined the Department of Biology in 2009, after completing her Ph.D. in evolutionary biology at Washington University and postdoctoral work in behavioral neuroscience at Michigan State University. Johnson teaches courses on evolution, and her research focuses on the evolution of lizard behavior. She has long been involved in initiatives to support women in science, and she works closely with local elementary teachers to advance science education in San Antonio.

    • Ph.D., Washington University in St. Louis 
    • B.S., Wake Forest University 
    • Vitousek, M.N., M.A. Johnson, J.W. Donald, C.D. Francis, M.J. Fuxjager, W. Goymann, M. Hau, J.F. Husak, B.K. Kircher, R. Knapp, L.B. Martin, E.T. Miller, L.A. Schoenle, J. Uehling*, and T.D. Williams. 2018. HormoneBase, a population-level database of steroid hormone levels across vertebrates. Scientific Data 5:180097.
    • Johnson, M.A., C.D. Francis, E.T. Miller, C.J. Downs, and M.N. Vitousek. 2018. Detecting bias in large-scale comparative analysis: Methods for expanding the scope of hypothesis-testing with HormoneBase. Integrative and Comparative Biology 58:720-728.
    • Johnson, M.A., B.K. Kircher, and D.J. Castro*. 2018. The evolution of androgen receptor expression and behavior in Anolis lizard forelimb muscles. Journal of Comparative Physiology A 204: 71-79.
    • Bush, J.M.*, M.M. Quinn*, E.C. Balreira, and M.A. Johnson. 2016. How do lizards determine dominance? Applying ranking algorithms to animal social behavior. Animal Behaviour 118: 65-74.
    • Robinson, C.D.*, M.S. Patton*, B.M. Andre, and M.A. Johnson. 2015. Convergent evolution of brain morphology and communication modalities in lizards. Current Zoology 61: 281-291.

    * denotes Trinity undergraduate co-author

    How does behavior evolve? The Johnson lab group is interested in the ecological factors that influence social behaviors and the physiological mechanisms that underlie those behaviors. Most of the lab’s work uses Caribbean lizards in the genus Anolis, or anoles, but we’re also exploring the diversity of lizards that occur at our local field sites in south-central Texas. We use field observations, laboratory experiments, molecular genetics, neuroendocrine techniques, and comparative methodology to explore behavioral evolution.

    • Integrative Biology 
    • Introductory Biology Laboratory 
    • Evolution 
    • The Darwinian Revolution
    • Vertebrate Biology


    • National Science Foundation IOS 1257021. RUI: Behavioral convergence in Caribbean lizards: morphological and physiological mechanisms. 2013-2018. $515,000.
    • Texas Ecolab. 2010-2019. Ten grants totaling over $113,000


    • 2019 - Trinity University’s “Best of the Best” Faculty Award
    • 2018 - President’s Award for Excellence in Student Advocacy, Trinity University
    • 2015 - Junior Faculty Award for Distinguished Teaching and Research, Trinity University
    • 2014 - Outstanding Mentor Award, Early Career, Council on Undergraduate Research, Biology Division

    Trinity University Involvement

    • TWIST (Trinity Women in Science & Technology) faculty adviser
    • Phi Beta Kappa, member of leadership team in Trinity University’s chapter
    • Darwin Day planning committee
    • Major Scholarships and Fellowships Committee

    Community Involvement

    • Coordinator of Trinity University’s Science Teaching Institute
    • Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology - Secretary
    • Texas Herpetological Society - Editor