posted September 4, 2007

Chemist Jeff Johnson Receives Dreyfus Award

Dr. Jeffrey Johnson, assistant professor of chemistry at Hope College, has received a Faculty Start-Up Award from the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation Inc.

The foundation presents the awards to support the scholarly activity of new faculty at primarily undergraduate institutions, generally to faculty who will be beginning their first tenure-track appointments. The foundation typically awards only a dozen or fewer each year, and Johnson is the only recipient at a Michigan college or university from among the eight scholars who received the awards this year.

It is second time in four years that a member of the Hope faculty has received one of the awards. Dr. Jason Gillmore, also an assistant professor of chemistry, also received one when he joined the faculty in 2004.

The award provides an unrestricted research grant of $30,000 that will provide support for Johnson's research program during the next five years. He will work collaboratively with Hope students on the development of non-traditional organic reactivity catalyzed by transition metals. This new chemistry promises novel methods for the conversion of readily available starting materials, including petroleum byproducts and biomass, into intermediates suitable for the production of complex organic molecules such as pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals.

Johnson joined the Hope faculty this fall after most recently serving as an NIH (National Institutes of Health) Postdoctoral Fellow at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. He previously completed his doctorate in chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

He mentored undergraduate students while engaged in research at both Colorado State University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He also participated in undergraduate research himself as a student at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn., from which he earned his bachelor's degree in chemistry in 2000.

The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation Inc. was established in 1946 and is a memorial to Camille and Henry Dreyfus, two brothers who made major contributions in the research of materials used in the manufacture of photographic films. The foundation's purpose is to advance the science of chemistry, chemical engineering and related sciences as a means of improving human relations and circumstances around the world. Chartered as a not-for-profit corporation by the State of New York with offices in New York City, the foundation makes awards to academic and other eligible institutions through several awards programs.

Through the years Hope has been recognized nationally in a variety of ways for its emphasis on collaborative faculty-student research as a teaching model. Such research takes place during both the school year and the summer. During the recent summer of 2007, 183 students participated in research in the division of the natural and applied sciences, including 150 Hope students, 21 students from other colleges and universities, and 12 students from local high schools.