Johnston, Matthew

Assistant Professor
Department of Mathematics
San Jose State University
One Washington Square
San Jose, CA 95192


  • Ph.D., Applied Mathematics, University of Waterloo (2006-2011)
  • M.Sc., Mathematics, University of Guelph (2005-2006)
  • B.A.H., Mathematics, University of Guelph (2001-2005)

Research Interests

  • Mathematical biology, dynamical systems, stochastic processes
  • Models of enzymatic processes, signaling systems, and genetic networks
  • Chemical Reaction Network Theory (CRNT)


I was raised in a small farming community in Southwestern Ontario just west of Toronto (Canada). I was always fascinated by the order found in mathematical structures, and took this curiosity with me to the University of Guelph, where I quickly switched from Computer Science to Mathematics in my first year. I have not looked back; I eventually obtained a B.A.H. (2005) and M.Sc. (2006) at Guelph, and then a Ph.D. at neighboring University of Waterloo (2011).

A visiting position at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2012-2015) cemented my interest in mathematical biology, and in particular models of biochemical reaction networks. It is surprising to many (but not me!) that mathematics has emerged as an essential and respected tool for understanding the complexity of these networks. When properly posed, mathematical models are able to offer crucial insights and make bold predictions that are not realistically attainable by laboratory experimentation alone. Aside from this, there is a vast and growing body of mathematical tools which are continually being developed to aid in this understanding. These tools span mathematical disciplines, from dynamical systems, to algebraic geometry, to optimization and linear programming, to stochastic processes.

My non-mathematical hobbies include jogging, playing baseball, playing the guitar, writing short stories, and traveling (usually with my wife, Kaitlin). I am known to frequent coffee shops and open mics, from time to time. Despite my Canadian blood, I have never learned to skate.