Change the world


Accomplished academic, Dr. Quinton Johnson, has been appointed to lead the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (George Campus) from 1 April 2013.  He succeeds Prof. Christo Fabricius who now heads up the Sustainability Research Unit at the university.

Dr. Johnson received his education at the Universities of Cape Town, Western Cape as well as Harvard, and holds a PhD in Biology from UWC. He has 23 years university experience in teaching, research and administration as professor, department chair, institute and international center director.  

He was the founding Chair of the Medical Biosciences Department at the UWC, which served two faculties, three schools, five departments and approximately 1500 students. Moreover, he was also founding Director of the South African Herbal Science and Medicine Institute, which is the only one of its kind in the country, focused on unlocking the value of phytotherapies and phytopharmaceuticals for HIV/AIDS, TB, Cancer and Diabetes. In addition, he became founding SA Director for both the United States National Institutes of Health International Center for Indigenous Phytotherapy Studies and European Union Traditional Health Research Consortium.  

The Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic), Prof. Piet Naude, said “The university is very serious about the success of the NMMU in George, and Dr. Johnson has the academic and leadership credentials to lead it as  Campus  Principal” Commenting  on  his  appointment, Dr. Johnson said that “…we will strengthen the transformation of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (George Campus) by enhancing excellence through diversity. Moreover, we will work towards becoming a world class knowledge catalyst for the green economy and a more sustainable future.”

Dr. Johnson has published widely in peer reviewed international journals, successfully training 56 Honours, Masters, PhD and Postdoctoral students. He has presented his findings at several prestigious international conferences, and has raised significant funding to advance cutting-edge research, quality teaching and learning as well as competitive innovation and entrepreneurship. He is married to Dr. Bridget Johnson, who is a Psychologist, and the couple have three children.

Career overview

Dr. Johnson’s 23-year professional career began at the University of the Western Cape, where he received the South African Academy for the Advancement of Sciences Gencor Medal for research excellence. After completing his Doctorate, he spent some time as a Postdoctoral Fellow in Cell and Molecular Biology at Oregon Health Sciences University. This was followed by his tenure as Visiting Scholar at the Harvard Schools of Business and Public Health, where he respectively completed the senior executive leadership and management programme focused on strategy, whilst pursuing his research in nutrition, complementary, alternative and traditional medicine.

As founding Chair of the Medical Biosciences Department at the UWC in 2002, he was responsible for leading the merger of the Anatomy, Physiology and Medical Microbiology disciplines to create a new department, as well as developing undergraduate professional education and postgraduate research programmes, serving about 1500 students.

In 2003 he created the field of Herbal Science and all its government-accredited postgraduate degree programmes. As founding Director of the South African Herbal Science and Medicine Institute, he functioned as the Principal Investigator of the Phytomedicine Group with a large team of senior investigators, postdoctoral fellows, postgraduate researchers, technical, financial and administrative staff, rising to the rank of Associate Professor in 2004.

He co-founded The International Centre for Indigenous Phytotherapy Studies (TICIPS) in partnership with Missouri University in 2005, after winning a global research competition sponsored by the United States National Institutes of Health.

In 2007 he was appointed to a full Professorial Chair, and in 2010 became the founding SA Director of the European Union Traditional Health Consortium consisting of the universities of Oslo, Western Cape, Bergen, Makerere, Bamako, Free-State and Oxford, after winning an international research competition. Furthermore, he has raised significant funding to advance teaching, research, innovation and policy.

Contact information
Ms Alet van Tonder
Manager: Marketing & Corporate Relations
Tel: 27 44 801 5098