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Dr. Miles  Johnson
Dr. Miles Johnson
Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Research in the Johnson lab is focused on the design of new transition metal catalysts that can convert simple chemical feedstocks into fine chemicals. Special emphasis is placed on the rational design of new ligands and the preparation of organometallic compounds.  Synthetic inorganic and organic techniques are used to prepare these new compounds and examine their reactivity. Spectroscopic (NMR, IR), computational (DFT), and electrochemical techniques permit the thorough characterization of these compounds while giving students experience with the tools needed for interdisciplinary research. Potential discoveries from our lab may be used in method development for designing molecules such as pharmaceuticals, converting petrochemicals into synthetic building blocks, and the activation of small molecules for energy applications.

Grants and Fellowships


American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund (UNI), "Modular and Rational Design of Pyrrolyl Phosphine Ligands for Nickel Catalysis" (Johnson)

Jeffress Memorial Trust Awards Program in Interdisciplinary Research, "An Integrated Synthetic-Computational Approach to Developing a Quantitative Model for Proazaphosphatrane-Enabled Cross-Coupling" (Johnson, Donald)


2015-2016 NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein Post-Doctoral Fellowship

2009-2012 National Science Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellowship

2011-2013 Chancellor’s Fellowship, University of California, Berkeley, CA



Matthews, A. D.;* Gravalis, G. M.;* Schley, N. D.; Johnson, M. W.  "Synthesis, Structure, and Reactivity of Palladium Proazaphosphatrane  Complexes Invoked in C-N Cross-Coupling" Organometallics, 2018 37, 3073-3078

Johnson, M. W.; Hannoun, K. I.; Tan, Y.; Fu, G. C.; Peters, J. C. “A Mechanistic Investigation of the Photoinduced, Copper-Mediated Cross-Coupling of an Aryl Thiol with an Aryl Halide” Chem. Sci., 2016, 7, 4091-4100.

Khrakovsky, D.; Tao, C.; Johnson, M. W.; Thornbury, R.; Shevick, S. L.; Toste, F. D. “Enantioselective, Stereodivergent Hydroazidation and Hydroamination of Allenes Catalyzed by Acyclic Diaminocarbene (ADC) Gold(I) Complexes” Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2016, 55, 1-6.

Johnson, M. W.; DiPasquale, A. G.; Bergman, R. G.; Toste, F. D. “Synthesis of Stable Gold(III) Pincer Complexes with Anionic Heteroatom Donors” Organometallics, 2014, 33, 4169-4172.

Johnson, M. W.; Bagley, S. W. Mankad, N. P.; Bergman, R. G.; Mascitti, V.; Toste, F. D. “Application of Fundamental Organometallic Chemistry to the Development of a Gold-Catalyzed Synthesis of Sulfinate Derivatives” Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2014, 53, 4404-4407.

Johnson, M. W.; Shevick, S. L.; Toste, F. D.; Bergman, R. G. “Preparation and Reactivity of Terminal Gold(I) Amides and Phosphides” Chem. Sci., 2013, 4, 1023-1027.

Brown, C. J.; Miller, G. M.; Johnson, M. W.; Bergman, R. G.; Raymond, K. N. “High-Turnover Supramolecular Catalysis by a Protected Ruthenium(II) Complex in Aqueous Solution” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2011, 133, 11964-11966.

Downey, C. W.; Johnson, M. W.; Lawrence, D. H.; Fleisher, A. S.; Tracy, K. J. “Acetic Acid Aldol Reactions in the Presence of Trimethylsilyl Trifluoromethanesulfonate” J. Org. Chem. 2010, 75, 5351-5354.

Downey, C. W.; Johnson, M. W.; Tracy, K. J. “One-Pot Enol Silane Formation-Mukaiyama Aldol-Type Addition to Dimethyl Acetals Mediated by TMSOTf” J. Org. Chem. 2008, 73, 3299-3302.

Downey, C. W.; Johnson, M. W.; “A Tandem Enol Silane Formation-Mukaiyama Aldol Reaction Mediated by TMSOTf” Tetrahedron Lett. 2007, 48, 3559-3562.

Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley 2014
B.S., University of Richmond 2009
Chemistry and Spanish
Contact Information
C 306 Gottwald Center for the Sciences
(804) 289-1775