Dr. Valerie Johnson

Post-Doctoral Fellow at Colorado State University

Dr. Valerie Johnson is a post-doctoral fellow at Colorado State University and per diem faculty in the small animal critical care service at CSU James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Dr. Johnson is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care (ACVECC) and completed a microbiology residency at CSU in 2012. Dr. Johnson is currently preparing to defend her thesis focused on the use of mesenchymal stem cells in biofilm infections and multi-drug resistant infections as well as utility of this therapy in the treatment of osteoarthritis both in animal models and clinical trials with canine patients. Dr. Johnson has an interest in exotic species and works part-time providing veterinary services at The Wild Animal Sanctuary. She has developed MSC lines for a variety of novel species and is currently conducting clinical trials for the use of MSC to treat osteoarthritis in megavertebrates and large carnivores. Currently Dr. Johnson’s research is conducted at the Translational Medicine Institute at Colorado State University.

Using Preactivated Mesenchymal Stem Cells to Treat Multi-Drug Resistant Infections in Dogs

Monday, September 9, 1:30 PM – 2:00 pM


Over the past several decades antimicrobial resistance has increased, in part due to overuse of antibiotics. These infections currently have limited therapeutic options, often resulting in extensive surgery, limb amputation, or death. New pharmaceutical agents are of limited value as the bacteria develop resistance to new therapeutics faster than new agents can be developed. Novel treatments are needed to enhance immune clearance of infection thus circumventing the ability of bacteria to develop resistance to antimicrobial drugs. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) have been demonstrated to have antimicrobial activity and studies in our lab have demonstrated clearance of biofilm infections not responsive to antibiotic treatment when pre-activated stem cells were combined with antibiotics. We hypothesized that pre-activated mesenchymal stem cells (aMSC) would be effective at clearing multi-drug resistant (MDR) infections in vitro and in vivo. Results of these studies suggest that aMSC do have anti-bacterial activity against MDR infections and can be effectively utilized to treat infections in which conventional therapies have failed.