Cannon Named 2022 Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar

Jim Tranquada Marc Campos/Occidental College

Associate Professor of Chemistry Jeffrey Cannon ’07 is one of eight 2022 Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholars nationwide named by the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation. The prestigious award honors young faculty in the chemical sciences who have created an outstanding independent body of scholarship and are deeply committed to undergraduate education.

Cannon is the third Oxy chemist to be named a Dreyfuss Teacher-Scholar, including Eileen Spain, Carl F. Braun Professor of Chemistry (2003) and Michael Hill, Fletcher Jones Foundation Professor of Chemistry (2001). Cannon is one of only three of this year's awardees who teach at a liberal arts college.

"As the latest member of the Oxy chemistry faculty to be named a Dreyfuss Teacher-Scholar, Jeffrey embodies all the virtues that the Foundation celebrates and Oxy practices: outstanding teaching informed by original research with students as active co-investigators," says Hill, the department chairman. "We are delighted at his recognition."

Cannon, who earned his Ph.D. in chemistry at UC Irvine in 2012 and joined the Oxy faculty in 2014 after serving as an NIH postdoctoral scholar at Caltech, teaches organic chemistry. He is part of the department's ongoing effort to improve coursework and lab work to make chemistry more accessible. That effort has shown promising results: some 40% of Oxy students now major in chemistry and the other sciences.

In his research lab, Cannon and his students investigate carbon-carbon bonds, the core of all organic molecules. "Our group is interested in developing new methods for their construction," he explains. "To accomplish this, we analyze interesting and complex targets to design creative and highly efficient methods for their synthesis. We are particularly interested in methods that can accomplish this catalytically and stereoselectively."

Each Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar in this category receives an unrestricted research grant of $75,000. Cannon plans to use the grant to support his undergraduate colleagues in advancing synthetic organic chemistry research. 

The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation is a leading non-profit organization devoted to the advancement of the chemical sciences. It was established in 1946 by chemist, inventor, and businessman Camille Dreyfus in honor of his brother Henry to advance the science of chemistry, chemical engineering, and related sciences as a means of improving human relations and circumstances around the world.