Professor John Murphy

Pure and Applied Chemistry

Personal statement

I am an organic chemist and my research group revels in exploring chemical reactivity in synthesis and in biology. We have a particular interest in electron transfer reactions and in radical chemistry, but are generally interested in mechanisms of organic reactions.

Read more about my research group at

I was born in Dublin and educated at Trinity College, Dublin (BA) and the University of Cambridge (PhD). I obtained my DSc in 2002.

After my PhD, I held Fellowships at the University of Alberta and the University of Oxford. I moved to the University of Nottingham as Lecturer, and was promoted to Reader there.

I moved to my current position as Merck-Pauson Professor of Chemistry at the University of Strathclyde in 1995.

I was visiting Professor at a number of institutions:

  • Universite Claude Bernard Lyon 1, 2017
  • Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, 2004
  • NAIST, Japan, 2001
  • l’Université d’Aix Marseille 1996

I also was Visiting Fellow to the Australian National University in 1995 and 2007. I held a Royal Society Leverhulme Senior Research Fellowship in 2001.

I was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (National Academy of  Scotland) in 2001. 

I was Director of the Glasgow Centre for Physical Organic Chemistry (GCPOC) 2008-2013.

From August 2006 - August 2008, I was Director of WestCHEM, the newly formed integrated Research School in Chemistry for the West of Scotland.

From 2013-2016, I was Head of Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry


2018 Alexander von Humboldt Research Prize (Alexander von Humboldt Foundation)

2016 C W Rees Award for Heterocyclic chemistry (Royal Society of Chemistry)

2012 Bader Award  (Royal Society of Chemistry)

Prizes and awards

Charles Rees Award 2016
Bader Award 2012

more prizes and awards


Charles Rees Award 2016 Winner

The citation reads: "Awarded for his highly innovative studies on the preparation, properties and applications of very reactive heterocycles, ranging from extreme electrophiles to super-reducing agents".


Dual roles for potassium hydride in haloarene reduction : CSNAr and SET reduction via organic electron donors formed in benzene
Barham Joshua P, Dalton Samuel E, Allison Mark, Nocera Giuseppe, Young Allan, John Matthew P, McGuire Thomas, Campos Sébastien, Tuttle Tell, Murphy John A
Journal of the American Chemical Society Vol 140, pp. 11510-11518 (2018)
Electron transfer reactions : KOtBu (but not NaOtBu) photoreduces benzophenone under activation by visible light
Nocera Giuseppe, Young Allan, Palumbo Fabrizio, Emery Katie J, Coulthard Graeme, McGuire Thomas, Tuttle Tell, Murphy John A
Journal of the American Chemical Society Vol 140, pp. 9751–9757 (2018)
KOtBu as a single electron donor? Revisiting the halogenation of alkanes with CBr4 and CCl4
Emery Katie J, Young Allan, Arokianathar J Norman, Tuttle Tell, Murphy John A
Molecules Vol 23 (2018)
A computational study of anionic alkoxide–allene and amide–allene cyclizations
Cumine Florimond, Young Allan, Reissig Hans-Ulrich, Tuttle Tell, Murphy John A
European Journal of Organic Chemistry Vol 2017, pp. 6867-6871 (2017)
Selectively targeting the kinome-conserved lysine of PI3K (delta) as a general approach to covalent kinase inhibition
Campos Sébastien André, Murphy John, Dalton Samuel, Dittus Lars , Thomas Daniel, Convery Maire, Nunes Joao, Bush Jacob, Evans John, Werner Thilo, Bantscheff Marcus
Journal of the American Chemical Society (2017)
Evidence of single electron transfer from the enolate anion of an N,N'-dialkyldiketopiperazine additive in BHAS coupling reactions
Emery Katie J, Tuttle Tell, Murphy John A
Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry Vol 15, pp. 8810-8819 (2017)

more publications

Research interests

His chemical interests are in mechanistic and synthetic chemistry, in reactive intermediates and in the development of new reactions.

Professional activities

ESOR (European Symposium on Organic Reactivity)
Royal Society International Exchanges Panel 2017-2019 (Event)
Evolution of Organic Electron Donors
Invited speaker
Transition metal-free coupling reactions
Invited speaker
Transition metal-free coupling reactions
Invited speaker
12th International Symposium on Organic Free Radicals (ISOFR)
Keynote/plenary speaker

more professional activities


Development of new sustainable molecular transformations with alkali/alkaline earth metal reagents
Murphy, John (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2018 - 28-Jan-2020
Industrial CASE Account - University of Strathclyde 2017 | Greaves, Megan
Nelson, David (Principal Investigator) Murphy, John (Co-investigator) Greaves, Megan (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2017 - 01-Jan-2021
Industrial Case Account 2015 / S151217-105
Murphy, John (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2015 - 30-Jan-2020
Industrial Case Account 2015 | Smith, Andrew
Murphy, John (Principal Investigator) Nelson, David (Co-investigator) Smith, Andrew (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2015 - 01-Jan-2019
Coupling sp2 –sp2 and sp2-sp3 centres without transition metals.
Murphy, John (Principal Investigator)
21-Jan-2015 - 21-Jan-2018
Doctoral Training Partnership (DTA - University of Strathclyde) | Allison, Mark
Murphy, John (Principal Investigator) Tuttle, Tell (Co-investigator) Allison, Mark (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2014 - 14-Jan-2018

more projects


Pure and Applied Chemistry
Thomas Graham Building

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