Michael Johnson
New Hire/Promotion

NJ Innovation Institute Names Johnson as Next President

The New Jersey Innovation Institute (NJII), a corporation of the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), announced the appointment of Dr. Michael Johnson as NJII president. Johnson will begin his tenure on Oct. 10.

Working as Managing Director at Visikol and Chief Commercial Officer of MatTek Life Sciences, Johnson has focused his career on solving the big problems that our world faces by leading the development and commercialization of paradigm-shifting life science technologies. Johnson founded the advanced cell culture and imaging contract research service business Visikol, which he sold in 2021 to Swedish biotech company BICO. At Visikol, Johnson led all scientific, commercial, strategic, operational and finance efforts and attracted all 20 of the top 20 pharmaceutical companies as clients. He oversaw 200+ discovery programs and led the development and launch of many advanced cell culture models, assays and imaging approaches.

Following the sale of Visikol, Johnson assumed his current role at MatTek Life Sciences (a BICO sister company), where he oversees an international sales, marketing and business development team.

Johnson also held positions at Johnson & Johnson and NASA earlier in his career and earned a bachelor of science degree in biology from Muhlenberg College as well as Ph.D. in microbiology from Rutgers University.

According to NJIT, Johnson exhibited all of the traits necessary to effectively lead NJII, which partners with business and government entities to turn ideas into workable solutions across an array of sectors. More specifically, NJII creates industry-centric ecosystems that help drive innovation and deliver solutions that make a direct and significant impact on the economy and the health and welfare of individuals. Throughout the search process, Johnson demonstrated poise, a high capacity for both internal and external engagement, a penchant for curiosity and innovation, a collaborative leadership style and an understanding of how to move a complex organization forward.

NJIT President Teik C. Lim said, “We are very excited to have attracted someone of Michael’s experience and capability to serve as NJII’s next president. He is an excellent match for this opportunity, and we have great confidence that he will have a tremendous and positive impact on NJII. I very much look forward to working with him as we expand the ways in which NJII and NJIT engage with government and industry to develop mutually beneficial partnerships.”

Robert Medina, chair of the NJII board of directors, added, “I am thrilled to have Michael joining NJII. Throughout this search, we worked very hard to make sure we found someone who had demonstrated a capacity to drive results and who would be the right fit to lead NJII and its extraordinarily innovative leadership team, into the future. Michael clearly checked both boxes.”

Johnson said, “I am passionate about translating cutting-edge research into innovative technologies that change the world, and the opportunity at NJII to be the conduit between a leading R1 research organization and industry was very attractive to me. As I look at NJII, I see an opportunity to greatly expand the organization’s scope, size and impact over the next few years as we look to form stronger public and private partnerships, accelerate the translation of NJIT technologies, expand corporate education programs and spur innovation within the state while leveraging NJIT’s vast resources. I am very grateful for this opportunity to join such a great team and really appreciate the efforts of President Lim as well as the NJII Board of Directors and the NJIT Board of Trustees.”

NJIT board of trustees Chair Robert Cohen added, “The board of trustees is enthusiastic about Michael Johnson assuming the presidency of NJII. His professional accomplishments align well with the NJII operating model, and he understands what it will take for NJII to take a leap forward. At his core, Michael is a proven innovator and problem solver, which is exactly what NJII is all about.”

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