Bernadette Johnson

Chief Science Officer

Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx)

Dr. Bernadette Johnson is Chief Science Officer of Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx), a relatively new office focused on accelerating commercial innovation for the Department of Defense. As CSO, her primary responsibilities are the development of a multi-disciplinary technology corps to provide support to the DIUx strategic portfolio areas. Prior to joining DIUx in August, 2016, she was the Chief Technology Officer at MIT Lincoln Laboratory. Her responsibilities included the development of the Laboratory's long-term technology strategy and the coordination of collaborative research with MIT campus. Before this, Dr. Johnson was Assistant Head of the Homeland Protection and Tactical Systems Division. Her technical foci were in military and civilian chemical and biological defense and forensics sensing, and she led a study to develop a strategic plan for bioscience research at Lincoln Laboratory.  She was and remains actively involved in technology innovation initiatives. At MIT Lincoln Laboratory, she was involved in a number of programs related to laser-based propagation and sensing and bio-detection. Examples of past work include experiments in adaptive optics to facilitate high-energy-laser propagation through the atmosphere, the adaptation and installation of a declassified adaptive optics system on the 60" telescope at Mt. Wilson Observatory, and investigations into the use of photorefractive InP:Fe for applications including wide-field-of-view heterodyne receivers. From 1993 through 1996, she directed the Environmental Monitoring Project, which was established to adapt Lincoln Laboratory technologies to environmental-monitoring applications. Dr. Johnson subsequently became involved in experiments to investigate microlaser-induced breakdown spectroscopy for in situ elemental analysis. She then developed and managed a program to investigate the feasibility and utility of combining active illumination with hyperspectral imaging for a variety of military and civilian applications, including unexploded ordnance and land-mine sensing. In 1999, she became involved with Lincoln Laboratory’s growing bio-detection program area. From 2001 until 2007, Dr. Johnson served as Leader of the Biodefense Systems Group. Dr. Johnson is a 2007 recipient of the Lincoln Laboratory Technical Excellence Award for her system-level architecting, technical innovation, and prototype demonstration. She holds a BS in physics from Dickinson College, an MS in condensed matter theory from Georgetown University, and a PhD in plasma physics from Dartmouth College. She is also a recent participant in the Harvard Kennedy School’s Senior Executives in National and International Security Program.