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Wayne State University

Aim Higher

College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Department of Chemistry
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Faculty Page
Carl R. Johnson
Title Distinguished Professor Emeritus
Division Organic
Education B.S, Medical College of Virginia, 1958
Ph.D., University of Illinois (Urbana), 1962
Postdoctoral Associate, Harvard, 1962
Office 118 Wilton Coves Dr. Hartfield, VA 23071
Phone (804) 776-7634

Carl R. Johnson was born in Charlottesville, Virginia in 1937 and grew up in the nearby town of Orange, Virginia. He graduated from Orange County High School in 1953, received a B.S. degree in Pharmacy from the Medical College of Virginia in 1958 and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Illinois (Urbana) in 1962 where he studied under the lollowing postdoctoral study with Prof. E. J. Corey at Harvard, he joined the faculty at Wayne State University as an Assistant Professor in September 1962 and became Professor there in 1968 and Distinguished Professor in 1990. He was chair of the Department of Chemistry from January 1997 through June 2001. He became Distinguished Professor Emeritus in January 2002

At Wayne State University he received the Distinguished Graduate Faculty Award in 1976 and the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1982; in 1979 he was named a charter member of the Academy of Scholars and in 1987 a Gershenson Distinguished Faculty Fellow. He was an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow (1965 - 1968). Other awards include the Harry & Carol Mosher Award from the Santa Clara Valley (CA) Section ACS (1992), an Alexander von Humboldt Senior Scientist Award from the Humboldt Foundation (Germany)(1991), the Allan R. Day Award from the Philadelphia Organic Chemists Club (1988), and the American Chemical Society Arthur C. Cope Senior Scholar Award for 2002. In 1996, he received a "Special Creativity" Award from the National Science Foundation, Chemistry Division. He was Editor of Organic Syntheses, Vol. 57 and continues to serve on the Board of Directors and as Treasurer of Organic Syntheses, Inc. He was on the Advisory Boards of the Journal of Organic Chemistry (1976-1980). Organic Letters (1999 - 2007) and the Canadian Journal of Chemistry (1997- 1999); he was an Associate Editor of the Journal of the American Chemical Society (1984 - 1989). He was a long standing a member of the Executive Committee of the American Chemical Society Division of Organic Chemistry and was Chairman of the Division, the largest in the ACS, in 1987. He served as Chairman of the Gordon Research Conferences on Stereochemistry (1988), Organic Reactions and Processes (1974) and Biocatalysis (1994).

In 2002 the Carl Johnson/Pfizer Endowed Chair in Chemistry was established at Wayne State University. The endowment was initiated with $710,000 in unrestricted internal university funds provided to Carl Johnson in large part by Pfizer. This was supplemented by $40,000 made available to Carl Johnson as the winner of the 2002 Arthur C. Cope Senior Scholar Award from the American Chemical Society. This initial $750,000 was matched with a generous gift to this endowment from Pfizer.

His research interests included organosulfur chemistry, synthetic methods, asymmetric synthesis, natural products chemistry, applications of enzymes in synthesis, organometallic chemistry, nucleoside chemistry, carbohydrate chemistry and medicinal chemistry. He was principal investigator of grants from NIH and NSF as well as other foundations and industrial organizations. He served on the NIH Study Section on Medicinal Chemistry in 1995 - 1999. Prof. Johnson co-authored several widely used textbooks and more than 200 research publications. During his 40 years at Wayne State he was research mentor to 64 Ph.D.'s, 19 Master's, 63 undergraduates researchers and 51 postdoctoral associates.

He married Mary Cardwell (M.S. in Chemistry, WSU, 1965) in 1966. Their son Gregory was born in 1971. In 2002, Carl and Mary Johnson moved to Hartfield, Virginia on the Chesapeake Bay.


Enzymatic desymmetrization of epoxydiols derived from 1,4- napthoaquinone, 5-hydroxy-1,4-naphthoquinone and 5,8-dihydroxy- 1,4-naphthoquionone, Betts, R. L.; Murphy S. T.; Johnson, C. R. Tetrahedron Asymmetry 15, 2853-2860.(2004).

Structural Determinants of A3 Adenosine Receptor Activation: Nucleoside Ligands at the Agonist/Antagonist Boundary, Gao, Z.-G.; Kim, S.-K.; Biadatti, T.; Chen, Wangzhong; Lee, K;, Barak, D.; Kim, S. G.; Johnson, C. R.; Jacobson, K. A., J. Med. Chem., 45, 4471-4484 (2002).

An Efficient Synthesis of 3-Hetero-13,14-dihydro Prostaglandin F1 Analogues Jianxin Gu, Michelle J. Dirr, Yili Wang, David L. Soper, Biswanath De, John A. Wos and Carl R. Johnson. Org. Lett., 3, 7910-794, 2001

Synthesis of (2R,4R)- and (2S,4S)-4-Hydroxypipecolic Acid Derivatives and (2S,4S)-(-)-SS20846A Mark Sabat and Carl R. Johnson, Tetrahedron Lett. 42, 1209-1212, 2001).

Enzymatic Resolution of Diols Derived From p-Benzoquinone. Jianxin Gu, Mary J. Heeg and Carl R. Johnson, Tetrahedron Lett. 42, 1213-1215 (2001).

Complete list of publications: Publications.PDF

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