Dr. Miles Johnson

Assistant Professor of Inorganic 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

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

Selected Publications


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.


Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley 2014

Contact Information

Gottwald Center for the Sciences
(804) 289-1775