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)


New reductive rearrangement of N-Arylindoles triggered by the Grubbs-Stoltz reagent Et3SiH/KOtBu
Smith Andrew J, Dimitrova Daniela, Arokianathar Jude N, Kolodziejczak Krystian, Young Allan, Allison Mark, Poole Darren L, Leach Stuart G, Parkinson John A, Tuttle Tell, Murphy John A
Chemical Science (2020)
The role of organic electron donors in the initiation of BHAS base-induced coupling reactions between haloarenes and arenes
Smith Andrew J, Poole Darren L, Murphy John A
Science China Chemistry Vol 62, pp. 1425-1438 (2019)
Concerted nucleophilic aromatic substitution reactions
Rohrbach Simon, Smith Andrew J, Pang Jia Hao, Poole Darren L, Tuttle Tell, Chiba Shunsuke, Murphy John A
Angewandte Chemie International Edition Vol 58, pp. 16368-16388 (2019)
N-Silylation of amines mediated by Et3SiH/KOtBu
Palumbo Fabrizio, Rohrbach Simon, Tuttle Tell, Murphy John A
Helvetica Chimica Acta (2019)
The right light : de novo design of a robust modular photochemical reactor for optimum batch and flow chemistry
Bonfield Holly E, Mercer Kayleigh, Diaz-Rodriguez Alba, Cook Gemma C, McKay Blandine S J, Slade Pawel, Taylor George M, Ooi Wei Xiang, Williams Jason D, Roberts Jack P M, Murphy John A, Schmermund Luca, Kroutil Wolfgang, Mielke Tamara, Cartwright Jared, Grogan Gideon, Edwards Lee J
ChemPhotoChem (2019)
Ground state cross-coupling of haloarenes with arenes initiated by organic electron donors, formed in situ : an overview
Nocera Giuseppe, Murphy John A
Synthesis Vol 51 (2019)

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
PhD External Examiner
External Examiner

more professional activities


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) Florence, Alastair (Co-investigator) Jamieson, Craig (Co-investigator) Johnston, Blair (Co-investigator) Murphy, John (Co-investigator) Palmer, David (Co-investigator) Tomkinson, Nick (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2019 - 31-Jan-2023
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
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 | Smith, Andrew
Murphy, John (Principal Investigator) Nelson, David (Co-investigator) Smith, Andrew (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2015 - 05-Jan-2020

more projects


Pure and Applied Chemistry
Thomas Graham Building

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