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 1976) and the University of Cambridge (PhD 1980). 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 in 1983, 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:

  1. l’Université d’Aix Marseille 1996
  2. NAIST, Japan, 2001
  3. Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, 2004

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


Effect of solvent on radical cyclisation pathways : SRN1 vs. aryl-aryl bond forming mechanisms
Emery Katie J., Murphy John A., Tuttle Tell
Organic and biomolecular chemistry, (2016)
C-C bond-forming reactions of ground-state aryl halides under reductive activation
Emery Katie J., Tuttle Tell, Kennedy Alan R., Murphy John A.
Tetrahedron Vol 72, pp. 7875-7887, (2016)
Contra-thermodynamic hydrogen atom abstraction in the selective C−H functionalization of trialkylamine N‑CH3 groups
Murphy John, Barham Joshua, John Matthew
Journal of American Chemical Society Vol 138, pp. 15482−15487, (2016)
KOtBu : a privileged reagent for electron transfer reactions?
Barham Joshua P., Coulthard Graeme, Emery Katie J., Doni Eswararao, Cumine Florimond, Nocera Giuseppe, John Matthew P., Berlouis Leonard E. A., McGuire Thomas, Tuttle Tell, Murphy John A.
Journal of American Chemical Society Vol 138, pp. 7402-7410, (2016)
Proton transfer reactions of a bridged bis-propyl bis-imidazolium salt
Massey Richard S., Quinn Peter, Zhou Shengze, Murphy John A., O'Donoghue Annmarie C.
Journal of Physical Organic Chemistry, (2016)
Predicting the reducing power of organic super electron donors
Anderson Greg M, Cameron Iain, Murphy John A., Tuttle Tell
RSC Advances Vol 6, pp. 11335-11343, (2016)

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
Evolution of Organic Electron Donors
Transition metal-free coupling reactions
Transition metal-free coupling reactions
12th International Symposium on Organic Free Radicals (ISOFR)
Keynote/plenary speaker

more professional activities


Industrial Case Account 2015 | Smith, Andrew
Murphy, John (Principal Investigator) Nelson, David (Co-investigator) Smith, Andrew (Research Co-investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2015 - 01-Oct-2019
Collaborative Training Account | McPherson, Allan
Kerr, William (Principal Investigator) Murphy, John (Co-investigator) McPherson, Allan (Research Co-investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2006 - 27-Apr-2011
Physical Organic Chemistry: Opportunities In Synthesis, Materials And Pharmaceuticals (Science And Innovation Award) | Idziak, Christopher
Tuttle, Christopher (Principal Investigator) Murphy, John (Co-investigator) Idziak, Christopher (Research Co-investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2009 - 14-Jan-2014
Doctoral Training Partnership (DTA - University of Strathclyde) | Allison, Mark
Murphy, John (Principal Investigator) Tuttle, Christopher (Co-investigator) Allison, Mark (Research Co-investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2014 - 01-Apr-2018
Doctoral Training Grant 2006 | Jolly, Phillip Iain
Murphy, John (Principal Investigator) Kerr, William (Co-investigator) Jolly, Phillip Iain (Research Co-investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2007 - 12-Oct-2012
EPSRC Doctoral Training Grant | Bennie, Linsey Sarah
Kerr, William (Principal Investigator) Murphy, John (Co-investigator) Bennie, Linsey Sarah (Research Co-investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2008 - 25-Oct-2012

more projects


Pure and Applied Chemistry
Thomas Graham Building

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