Faculty & Staff
Wade Johnson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Chemistry
Department Chair, Chemistry
Office Location: Natural Sciences Center - Rm 307 B
PHD, Iowa State University
MS, Iowa State University
BS, Hampden-Sydney College
Johnson teaches the General Chemistry, the unique three-semester Biochemistry sequence and sophomore level Quantitative Analysis. Other teaching offerings include Advanced Inorganic Chemistry, Instrumental Chemistry, and the special topics course Alternative Fuels. His research focuses on various aspects related to photosynthesis, namely the protein complex Photosystem I (PSI). The overarching drive is to understand the relationship between the structure and function of proteins.
Johnson’s research on photosynthesis ranges from molecular biology, physiology, biochemistry, to biophysics. The primary model system is a blue green algae, Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 which is readily manipulated genetically and easy to grow. The PSI complex has a straightforward isolation process.
Johnson has mutationally disabled Synechocystis to prevent the synthesis of phylloquinone, a necessary electron acceptor bound in PSI. These mutants utilize naturally occurring plastoquinone or an exogenously supplemented quinone compound. Current research focuses on a series of highly reducing anthraquinones. By inserting various redox potential active compound the electron transfer through PSI can be tuned. The physiology of Synechocystis is monitored as an indicator of the utilization of exogenously added quinones in vivo.
Purified photosystem I is characterized to quantify the level of quinone binding in PSI. High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) is used to determine the ratio of the quinone to chlorophyll. The electron transfer rates are monitored by an in-house built pump probe laser system. The laser facilities were developed by Johnson and colleague Swarna Basu. The facilities are primarily maintained by their research students. Additional advance characterization is completed with national and international collaborators.
- CHEM-102L General Chemistry II Lab
- CHEM-231 Quantitative Analysis
- CHEM-300 Topics in Chemistry
- CHEM-430 Instrumental Analysis
- CHEM-450 Advanced Inorganic Chemistry
- CHEM-490 Independent Study
- CHEM-500 Problems in Chemistry
- CHEM-505 Seminar