Irving Johnson

Pharmaceutical Researcher
Primary office:


Dr. Irving Johnson, who led the commercial production of insulin with recombinant DNA technology at Eli Lilly, earned his doctorate in developmental biology in 1953 from KU. Johnson served as an assistant instructor in embryology, parasitology and general zoology from 1948 to 1950. He was a leading scientist in the pharmaceutical industry for 35 years and concluded his career as Vice President of Research for Eli Lilly in 1988. Johnson has published over 90 articles and served as an independent research consultant.

Johnson is a U.S. Navy veteran of World War II. He was a member of the U.S. delegation of the National Science Foundation that reviewed the biological effect of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In 1984, he was the recipient of the first annual Congressional Award in Science and Technology.

Connect with the College
Alumni Calendar
There are no upcoming events at this time.
College Events & Deadlines
COGA Deadlines and Events
Home to 50+ departments, centers, and programs, the School of the Arts, and the School of Public Affairs and Administration
KU offers courses in 40 languages
No. 1 ranking in city management and urban policy —U.S. News and World Report
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
26 prestigious Rhodes Scholars — more than all other Kansas colleges combined
Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
46 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times