Chemistry Professor Miles Johnson Awarded American Chemical Society Petroleum Grant for Nickel Research

July 10, 2019

UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND — Miles Johnson, assistant professor of chemistry, has been awarded a $55,000 grant from The Miles JohnsonAmerican Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund for his project using nickel as a metal catalyst to develop new chemical compounds.

The applications of nickel span science, and nickel catalysts are routinely used in chemistry for cross-coupling reactions where two fragments are joined together with the aid of a metal catalyst.

Johnson’s project, “Modular and Rational Design of Pyrrolyl Phosphine Ligands for Nickel Catalysis,” involves the development of new chemical compounds for nickel-catalyzed cross-coupling reactions, which have implications in the pharmaceutical industry.

“Cross-coupling reactions have played a pivotal role in the synthesis of new pharmaceuticals for decades and represent some of the most powerful tools at the disposal of medicinal chemists,” Johnson said.

Johnson graduated from the University of Richmond with a Bachelor of Science in chemistry and completed his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley. He was a National Institutes of Health post-doctoral fellow at Caltech before returning to Richmond as a faculty member in 2016. He was awarded the Jeffress Memorial Trust Award in 2018.

This ACS grant will include for support five undergraduate summer researchers.


The Petroleum Research Fund is an endowed fund, managed by the American Chemical Society that supports fundamental research directly related to petroleum or fossil fuels at nonprofit institutions in the United States and other countries.