Nancy Johnson, professor of ecology and director of NAU’s Soil Ecology Lab, has been promoted to Regents’ professor.

Johnson’s appointment was approved by the Arizona Board of Regents earlier this month. She was recommended by NAU after a nomination and review process, and the appointment becomes effective July 1.

“Nancy Johnson is a well-respected expert with global-scale studies highly deserving of the Regents’ professor designation,” President Rita Cheng said. “She has been a valuable member of the NAU community for nearly 20 years, and her outstanding work contributes to the university’s reputation and growing research enterprise.”

Appointment as a Regents’ professor is one of the highest honors the university bestows on its faculty. The title is reserved for faculty with exceptional achievements that have brought them national or international distinction and whose work is of superior quality according to standards set by leading scholars in the field.

“This is a huge honor for me personally, but more importantly it is a recognition for the value of our environmental sciences research and mentoring programs,” Johnson said. “I’m very happy to have the opportunity to serve as a Regents’ professor. The credential will help our programs continue to grow in exciting new areas.”

Johnson, who joined NAU in 1997, focuses her research on soil ecology, stoichiometry of mycorrhizal symbioses, ecosystem restoration, agroecology and cooperation and mutualism theory. She published research in 1997 that changed thinking on the symbiotic relationship between soil fungus and plants. She recently contributed field samples to a global-scale study of the biogeography of Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, also known as AM fungi.

Johnson has taught courses in environmental science, ecology, environmental ecology and microbial ecology. She also serves as director for the Undergraduate Mentoring Program, which helps students of diverse backgrounds succeed in life sciences research.