Nicholas Johnson, MD, MS-CI

Vice Chair of Research and Associate Professor

VCU Medical Center Main Hospital
1250 E. Marshall Street
Richmond, VA 23219
Salt Lake City, UT 84113


Dr. Nicholas Johnson treats adults and children with both common and rare neuromuscular conditions — yet his work doesn’t end in the clinic. He dedicates significant time each week to laboratory research, and is part of a team at VCU Health working to advance the treatment of genetic muscle disorders, with a special emphasis on muscular dystrophies.

In his clinical practice, Dr. Johnson treats conditions such as muscular and myotonic dystrophies, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, and a variety of other nerve and muscle conditions such as spinal muscular atrophy. “I want to not only provide patients with care, but also be the one creating treatments and therapies that could change their lives,” he says. In particular, the neurologist is excited about the development of gene-based therapies, which have revolutionized clinical trials over even the last few years.

And as an important part of that treatment, Dr. Johnson says, is to have a comprehensive care team. He regularly sees his patients in our multidisciplinary clinics at the N.O.W. Center, Ambulatory Care Center, and CHoR. These clinics are home to physical and speech therapists, social workers, and other health professionals who work to provide the best possible supportive care alongside neurologists like Dr. Johnson.

In 2018, the Muscular Dystrophy Association awarded a $700,000 clinical research grant to Dr. Johnson to establish the Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy (LGMD) Clinical Research Network. The work of the physician and his team will facilitate the development of tools and infrastructure needed to efficiently and effectively conduct clinical trials and accelerate treatments for LGMDs. This diverse group of disorders contains many subtype conditions, all of which include weakness and atrophy of the muscles around the hips and shoulders.

Selected Bibliography:

Johnson NE.
Myotonic Muscular Dystrophies.
Continuum (Minneap Minn). 2019;25(6):1682-1695. PubMed abstract

Johnson NE, Butterfield R.
Muscle at the junction: Where next generation sequencing is sending us.
Neurology. 2019;92(13):591-592. PubMed abstract

Johnson NE, Ekstrom AB, Campbell C, Hung M, Adams HR, Chen W, Luebbe E, Hilbert J, Moxley RT 3rd, Heatwole CR.
Parent-reported multi-national study of the impact of congenital and childhood onset myotonic dystrophy.
Dev Med Child Neurol. 2015. PubMed abstract / Full Text

Johnson NE, Luebbe E, Eastwood E, Chin N, Moxley RT 3rd, Heatwole CR.
The Impact of Congenital and Childhood Myotonic Dystrophy on Quality of Life: A Qualitative Study of Associated Symptoms.
J Child Neurol. 2013. PubMed abstract

Johnson NE, Aldana EZ, Angeard N, Ashizawa T, Berggren KN, Marini-Bettolo C, Duong T, Ekström AB, Sansone V, Tian C, Hellerstein L, Campbell C.
Consensus-based care recommendations for congenital and childhood-onset myotonic dystrophy type 1.
Neurol Clin Pract. 2019;9(5):443-454. PubMed abstract / Full Text