Dr. Jeffrey Johnson

Professor of Chemistry, Department Chair
Profile photo of Dr. Jeffrey Johnson

Dr. Jeffrey Johnson joined the Hope College Department of Chemistry in 2007, was tenured and promoted to associate professor in 2013, and was promoted to full professor in 2018. He is currently a Schaap Research Fellow.

In addition to teaching within the organic and inorganic programs, Jeff’s research group of 8 to 10 students focuses on the activation and functionalization of carbon-carbon single bonds. Projects include the mechanistic understanding of known transformations and the development of new organic reactions.

See Dr. Johnson's current research 


  • The understanding and development of methodologies utilizing carbon-carbon single bond activation
  • Mechanism of ketone decarbonylation
  • Investigation of directing groups
  • Nickel-catalyzed alkylation methodology
  • Development of catalytic decarbonylative coupling


  • Ph.D., chemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2004
  • B.A., ACS chemistry, magna cum laude, Gustavus Adolphus College, 2000


  • Hope College Vanderbush-Weller Award, 2022
  • National Science Foundation Research at Undergraduate Institutions Grant, 2018–2021 ($273,855)
  • Hope College Janet Anderson Excellence in Teaching Award, 2020
  • Organic Syntheses, Inc. Grant for Summer Research at an Undergraduate Institution, 2018 ($8,000)
  • Thieme Chemistry Journal Award, 2018
  • Named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2017
  • Hope College Ruth and John Reed Faculty Achievement Award, 2016
  • Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, 2015 ($60,000)
  • Beckman Scholars Program, 2015 ($104,000)
  • Research Corporation Cottrell Scholar, 2015
  • Inaugural Hope College Schaap Research Fellow, Hope College, 2013–2018; renewed for 2018–2023
  • NSF Faculty Early CAREER Development Award, 2012–2017 ($400,000)
  • NSF-MRI for NMR spectrometer, 2011 ($417,000)
  • Men in Mentoring Award from Michigan State Sen. Wayne Kuipers, May 2010
  • Hope College Towsley Research Scholar, 2009–2013
  • Research Corporation Cottrell College Science Award, 2009 ($60,072)
  • ACS-PRF Undergraduate New Investigator Award, 2010 ($50,000)
  • Camille and Henry Dreyfus Faculty Start-Up Award, 2007 ($30,000)
  • ACS Organic Division Graduate Fellow – Emmanuil Troyansky Fellowship, 2003–2004
  • Phi Beta Kappa, inducted 1999
  • Barry M. Goldwater Scholar, 1999–2000
  • National Merit Scholar, 1996–2000

Selected Publications

For a full list of publications and academic citations, see Dr. Johnson's CV.

  • “Pyridine-directed carbon-carbon single bond activation: Rhodium-catalyzed decarbonylation of aryl and heteroaromatic ketones,” Tetrahedron Letters, 73, 2021
  • “Nickel-Mediated Cross-Coupling of Boronic Acids and Phthalimides for the Synthesis of Ortho-Substituted Benzamides,” Journal of Organic Chemistry, 85, 2020
  • “Oxidative coupling of Michael acceptors with aryl nucleophiles produced through rhodium catalyzed C–C bond activation,” Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry, 15, 2017
  • “Rhodium-Catalyzed Interconversion of Quinolinyl Ketones with Boronic Acids via C-C Bond Activation” Organic Letters, 18, 2016
  • “Efficient access to 3-substituted-γ- hydroxylactams: the uncatalyzed addition of diorganozinc reagents to cyclic imides with heterocyclic substitution,” Tetrahedron Letters, 55, 2014
  • “Nickel-Catalyzed Direct Addition of Diorganozinc Reagents to Phthalimides: Selective Formation of GammaHydroxylactams,” Synlett, 24, 2013
  • “Steric and electronic effects influencing β-aryl elimination in the Pd-catalyzed carbon-carbon single bond activation of triarylmethanols,” The Journal of Organic Chemistry, 78, 2013
  • “The Rate Limiting Step of the Rh-Catalyzed Carboacylation of Alkenes: C-C Bond Activation or Migratory Insertion?” Journal of the American Chemical Society, 134, 2012
  • “Nickel-Mediated Decarbonylative Cross-Coupling of Phthalimides with in situ Generated Diorganozinc Reagents,” The Journal of Organic Chemistry, 76, 2011
  • “Rhodium-Catalyzed Acylation with Quinolinyl Ketones: Carbon-Carbon Single Bond Activation as the Turnover Limiting Step of Catalysis,” Journal of the American Chemical Society, 133, 2011
  • “Successful Student Transitions from the Community College to the Four-Year College Facilitated by Undergraduate Research,” Council of Undergraduate Research Quarterly, 31, 2011


  • American Chemical Society (Organic, Inorganic and Fluorine Divisions), 1999–present
  • Phi Beta Kappa, 1999–present
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2000–present
  • Sigma Xi, 2000–present
  • Council of Undergraduate Research, 2010–present
  • Midwest Association of Chemistry Teachers at Liberal Arts Colleges, 2011–present

Institutional Service

  • Hope College Administrative Affairs Board, 2021–2024 (chair 2022–2023)
  • Hope College Academic Affairs Board, 2014–2017 (chair 2016–17)
  • Hope College Curriculum Committee, 2014–2016 (chair)
  • Hope College Health Professions Advising Committee, 2010–present
  • Beckman Scholars Program Administrator, 2014–2018

Outside the College

Besides working at Hope, Jeff spends time chasing three teenagers and is active with several local school groups, including the Hamilton Band Boosters and the Hamilton Community Schools Parent Oversight Board. Jeff is also a member of the Red Cross ‘12 gallon club’ for blood donations.

Curling happens to be an old pastime of Jeff’s. He was a two-time Junior Men’s Curling National Championship participant, five-time North Dakota State Champion and a participant in the 1998 Winter Olympic Trials for curling.

Profile photo of Dr. Jeffrey Johnson
Dr. Jeffrey Johnson

Phone Number616.395.7083

A. Paul Schaap Science Center 3114 35 East 12th Street Holland, MI 49423-3605
A map showing the location for Dr. Jeffrey Johnson A. Paul Schaap Science Center 3114 35 East 12th Street Holland MI 49423-3605