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Dr. Randy Johnston

Department Chair

Professor of Chemistry
337 White Hall, Box 3134
(731) 661-5250

(1994) He is a Professor of Chemistry and is currently the Department Chair. He earned his B.S., from the University of Missouri, St. Louis and his Ph.D., from Texas Tech University. Dr. Johnston is a trained inorganic/analytical chemist. His research interests are in organometallic chemistry with an emphasis on the development of catalytic systems.


  • Received Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry from the University of Missouri in St. Louis (1980) 
  • Received Ph.d. in Chemistry from Texas Tech University (1984) 
  • Additional studies at University of Tennessee Knoxville

Community Service

I have been a very active member of Highland Park Baptist church for the past 11 years. My service at the church has recently included singing on the praise team and teaching an adult Sunday School class. In the past, I have held roles as discipleship trainer, deacon, chairman of the deacons, and I sang in a quartet.


johnston-chemistry-2.jpgI have been involved with the Boy Scouts for the past 12 years. Currently, I am a committee member of troop 100. This is a very active role helping young gentlemen earn different merit badges and honors. The troop keeps me busy with various activities and overnight camp outs.

Research Goals

To make a positive impact upon Organometallic Chemistry and undergraduate education through:

  • the synthesis of new catalysts
  • catalytic activity studies of new compounds
  • the development of a methodology to synthesize a reaction specific catalysts
  • by involving undergraduate students in the research
  • develop and test new methods that improve student learning in my classes



  1. "Acid Hydrolysis of the (µ-Oxo)bis(pentaaquochromium(III)) Ion." Johnston, R. F.; Holwerda, R. A. Inorg. Chem. 1983, 22, 2942.
  2. "Ethanol Oxidation by Chromium(III) Complexes of Chloranilic Acid. Spectroscopic, Electrochemical, Magnetic and Chromatographic Studies of Chlorinilate Semiquione-Bridged Polynuclear Chromium Ions." Johnston, R. F.; Holwerda, R. A. Inorg. Chem. 1985, 24, 153.
  3. "Electrochemistry and Reductant-Catalyzed Acid Hydrolysis of (µ-Oxo)bis(pentaaquochromium(III)) Ion." Johnston, R. F.; Holwerda, R. A.Inorg. Chem. 1985, 24, 3176.
  4. "Anion and Cation Catalyzed Acid Hydrolysis of the (µ-Oxo)bis(pentaaquochromium(III)) Ion." Johnston, R. F.; Holwerda, R. A.Inorg. Chem. 1985, 24, 3181.
  5. "The First Example of Photochemically Activated Carbon Dioxide Insertion into Transition-Metal-Carbon Bonds." Johnston, R. F.; Cooper, J. C. Organometallics 1987, 6, 2449.
  6. "The Crystal and Molecular Structure of Chloranilatobis(tri-m-tolylphosphine)palladium(II), [Pd(C6O4Cl2)(P{C6H4-m-CH3}3)2]." Johnston, R. F.; Sen Gupta, P. K.; Hossain, M. B.; van der Helm, D.; Jeong, W.-Y.; Holwerda, R. A. Acta Cryst. C1990, 46, 1796-1799.
  7. "Substituent Effects on the Frontier Molecular Orbitals of Aryl Isonitriles." Guy, J. T.; Guy, M. P.;  Johnston, R. F.; Cooper, J. C. J. Molecul. Struct. (Theochem) 1991, 236, 297-307.
  8. "Structure of (Chloranilato)bis(tri-n-butylphosphine)palladium(II)." Johnston, R. F.; Van Derveer, D. G.; Holwerda, R. A.J. Crystallo. Spectro. Res. 1992, 22(6), 755-759.
  9. "Effects of Multiple Substituents on the Physical Properties of Pentacarbonylarylisocyanidechromium Compounds." Johnston, R. F.J. Coor. Chem.1994, 31, 57-66.
  10. "An Investigation of Electron Transfer Properties of CpMn(CO)3 and Substituted Cp Derivativies." Sawtelle, S. M.; Johnston, R. F.; Cook, C. C.Inorg. Chim. Acta1994, 221, 85-92 .
  11. "Rearrangement of h5-CpMn(CO)2(HSiEt3): A Missing Step in the Energy Surface for the  Oxidative Addition of Silane to CpMn(CO)2(heptane)." Hu, S.; Farrell, G. J.; Cook, C. C.;  Johnston, R. F.; Burkey, T. J. Organometallics  1994, 13(11), 4127-4128.
  12. "Investigation of the Electrochemical Properties of Substituted Titanocene Dichlorides." Johnston, R. F.; Borjas, R. E.; Furilla, J.Electrochim. Acta.  1995, 40(4),  473-477.
  13. "Synthesis and Characterization of Substituted Cyclopentadienide Ligands That may Form Chelates or Metal Dimers." Johnston, R. F.; Yeh, P.-H.; Pang, Z. J. Organomet. Chem.   1996, 509, 123-129.
  14. "Preparation, Characterization, and Reactivity Studies of Chelated Substituted Cyclopentadienylmanganesedicarbonyl Complexes." Pang, Z.; Johnston, R. F.; VanDerveer, D. G.  J. Organomet. Chem.  1996, 526, 25-32.
  15. "Design of Transition Metal Complexes with High Quantum Yields for Ligand Substitution: Efficient Photochemical Chelate Ring Closure in Cyclopentadienylmanganese Tricarbonyl  Derivatives." Pang, Z.; Burkey, T. J.; Johnston, R. F. Organometallics  1997, 16(1), 120-123.
  16. "The Mechanism of Substitution of Cymantrene Derivatives by Phosphines and Phosphites." Pang,  Z.; Johnston, R. F. Polyhedron  1999, 18 3469-3477.
  17. "Ultrafast Ring Closure Energtics and Dynamics of Cylcopentadienyl Manganese Tricarbonyl Derivatives." Jiao, T.; Pang, Z.; Burkey, T. J.; Johnston, R. F.; Heimer, T. A.; Kleiman, V. D.; Heilweil, E. J. J. Am. Chem. Soc.    1999, 121(19), 4618-4624.
  18. "Accumulation of Hg(II) by Adsorbed Polyuridylic Acid: Differentiation of Coordinated Hg(II) and Covalently Mercurated Species." Johnston, R. F.; Lewis, D. M.; Chambers, J. Q. J. Electroanaly. Chem. 1999, 466, 2-7.
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