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)


A study of the reactivity of cyclic aminomethylammonium mannich salts
Dimitrova Daniela, McMahon Connor, Kennedy Alan R, Parkinson John A, Leach Stuart G, Boulton Lee T, Pascoe David D, Murphy John A
Tetrahedron Vol 128 (2022)
Highly selective α-aryloxyalkyl C–H functionalisation of aryl alkyl ethers
Bell Jonathan D, Robb Iain, Murphy John A
Chemical Science Vol 13, pp. 12921-12926 (2022)
Nitrogen-centered radicals in functionalization of sp2 systems : generation, reactivity, and applications in synthesis
Pratley Cassie, Fenner Sabine, Murphy John A
Chemical Reviews Vol 122, pp. 8181-8260 (2022)
Radical and ionic mechanisms in rearrangements of o-tolyl aryl ethers and amines initiated by the Grubbs-Stoltz reagent, Et3SiH/KOtBu
Kolodziejczak Krystian, Stewart Alexander J, Tuttle Tell, Murphy John A
Molecules Vol 26 (2021)
Bridge functionalisation of bicyclo[1.1.1]pentane derivatives
Anderson Joseph M, Measom Nicholas D, Murphy John A, Poole Darren L
Angewandte Chemie International Edition Vol 60, pp. 24754-24769 (2021)
Recent advances in visible light-activated radical coupling reactions triggered by (i) ruthenium, (ii) iridium and (iii) organic photoredox agents
Bell Jonathan D, Murphy John A
Chemical Society Reviews Vol 50, pp. 9540-9685 (2021)

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
Consultancy with GlaxoSmithKline 2016

More professional activities


Industrial CASE Account - University of Strathclyde 2021 | Tyerman, Sebastian
Murphy, John (Principal Investigator) Tuttle, Tell (Co-investigator) Tyerman, Sebastian (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2021 - 01-Jan-2025
Industrial Case Account - University of Strathclyde 2019 / S190404-107
Murphy, John (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2019 - 30-Jan-2024
Industrial Case Account - University of Strathclyde 2019 | McMahon, Connor
Murphy, John (Principal Investigator) Tuttle, Tell (Co-investigator) McMahon, Connor (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2019 - 01-Jan-2023
Accelerated Discovery and Development of New Medicines: Prosperity Partnership for a Healthier Nation
Kerr, William (Principal Investigator) Brown, Cameron (Co-investigator) Florence, Alastair (Co-investigator) Jamieson, Craig (Co-investigator) Johnston, Blair (Co-investigator) Murphy, John (Co-investigator) Palmer, David (Co-investigator) Tomkinson, Nick (Co-investigator)
Accelerated Discovery and Development of New Medicines: Prosperity Partnership for a Healthier Nation
01-Jan-2019 - 30-Jan-2024
Accelerated Discovery and Development of New Medicines: Prosperity Partnership for a Healthier Nation
Murphy, John (Co-investigator) Bell, Jonathan (Researcher)
EP/S035990/1 £5,495, 023 from EPSRC.Prof William J. Kerr is the Strathclyde PI.

Next generation catalysis and synthesis: Chemists seeking to discover new medicines need new reactions that will allow them to make and investigate structures that are currently difficult, or even impossible, to make. A key objective of this proposal will be to develop new reagents, catalysts, and reactions to facilitate the more efficient preparation of drug-like molecules to accelerate drug discovery. Similarly, we will develop new ways of performing some of the most common chemical transformations in the synthesis of medicines whilst avoiding the use of carcinogenic reagents
01-Jan-2019 - 31-Jan-2023
Electron Transfer with metals and non-metals
Murphy, John (Principal Investigator)
Electron Transfer with metals and non-metals
01-Jan-2018 - 30-Jan-2022

More projects