Dr Patrick J. Murphy

Senior Lecturer-Chemistry

Bangor University


I am a graduate of the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (BSc 1983, PhD 1986). After postdoctoral work at Salford University I was appointed as a lecturer at Bangor 1990 and promoted to a senior lecturer in 1998. My research has centred on the development natural products chemistry, both isolation and synthesis including the development of new synthetic methodology. Major achievements include the synthesis of the anti-cancer agent goniofufurone using non-classical Wittig methodology and the synthesis of the sponge metabolite crambescidin 359 using a novel biomimetic methodology. Our funding has included EU (ESF and CRAFT schemes), the TCS and KTP schemes and the British Council. Industrial collaborations include AstraZeneca, ICI, GSK, Pfizer, Excelsyn, Morvus, Phytoquest, Menai Organics, RE Specialty Chem, Alzeim and Ig-Innovations. I have also established collaborations with colleagues within the University including Dr Loretta Murphy (enzyme inhibition), Prof. Igor Perepichka (molecular electronics) and Dr Chris Gwenin (new anti-cancer agents and treatment strategies). External collaborations include Prof. Amnon Hizi (Tel-Aviv University, Anti-HIV agents) and Prof. Fabio Ponticelli (Siena University, photochemistry), Dr Gregory Chasse (QMC, Neutron scattering studies), Prof. Roberto Berlinck (Sao Paulo, marine natural products), Prof. André G. Tempone (Sao Paulo, parasitic diseases).

Specific projects in which I have collaborated with industry in the area of plant chemistry and plant metabolites include:

  • The total synthesis of the anticancer plant metabolite goniofufurone from Goniothalamus giganteus (With GSK)
  • Isolation of plant steroids from waste material obtained formed in the manufacture of olibanum oil (frankincense) from Boswellia sacra (with Frutarom (UK) Ltd)
  • Developing a method for the detection and quantification of the galantamine in daffodil bulbs (with Alzeim and Ig-Innovations)
  • Synthesis of inactive analogues of (-)-trans-?9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to determine its mode of action
  • Synthesis of the bioactive guanidine alkaloids enduracididine (Lonchocurpus sericeus) and nitensidines D and E (Pterogyne nitens) as potential anticancer agents
  • Isolation of alkaloids and fatty acids from bluebell seeds (With Dr V Thoss and Dr M Lahmann)
  • Growth and isolation of antifungal metabolites from Allium fistulosum (Welsh onion)


1   Characterization of the Hydrides in Stryker’s Reagent: [HCu{P(C6H5)3}]6: Bennett, E. L.; Murphy,
P. J.; Imberti, S.; Parker, S. F.; Inorg. Chem., 2014, 53, 2963–2967 DOI: 10.1021/ic402736t
2   Iodocyclisations reactions of Boc- and Cbz-protected N-allylguanidines Zainab Al Shuhaib, D. H.
Davies, M. Dennis, D. M. Evans, M. D. Fletcher, H. Franken, P. Hancock, J. Hollinshead, I. Jones, K. Kähm, P. J. Murphy, R. Nash, D. Potter, and R. Rowles. Tetrahedron, 2104, 70, Pages 4412 doi:10.1016/j.tet.2014.03.087       
3   Preparation of an ABC tricyclic model of the cylindrospermopsin alkaloids via a biomimetically
inspired pathway, Daniel. M. Evans, Peter N. Horton, Michael B. Hursthouse and Patrick. J.
Murphy, RSC Adv., 2014, 4, 20744–20751 DOI: 10.1039/c4ra03031
4   How the Surface Structure Determines the Properties of CuH, Bennett, Elliot. L; Wilson, T.; Murphy, P. J.; Refson, K.; Hannon, A. C.; Imberti, S.; Callear, S. K.; Chass, G. A.; Parker, S. F.; Inorg. Chem., 2015, 54, 2213-2220. DOI: 10.1021/ic5027009
5   Anti-parasitic Guanidine and Pyrimidine Alkaloids from the Marine Sponge Monanchora arbuscula, Santos, M. F. C.; Harper, P. M.; Williams, D. E. Mesquita, J. T.; Pinto, E. G.; da Costa-Silva, T. A. Hajdu, E.; Ferreira, A. G.; Santos, R. A.; Murphy, P. J. Andersen, R. J.; Tempone, A. G.; Berlinck, R. G. S.; J. Nat. Prod., 2015, 78, 1101-1112. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jnatprod.5b00070
6   Structure and spectroscopy of CuH prepared via borohydride reduction: Bennett, Elliot L.; Wilson,     Thomas; Murphy, Patrick J.; Refson, Keith; Hannon, Alex C.; Imberti, Silvia; Callear, Samantha K.; Chass, Gregory A.; Parker, Stewart F., Acta Cryst. 2015, B71. doi:10.1107/S2052520615015176
7   Marine guanidine derivatives affect the redox biology of Leishmania infantum and downregulate cytokines of macrophages, A. G. Tempone, L. F. Martins, E. L. Bennett, G. P. Black, P. J. Murphy Planta Med, 2015, 81, PM_165. doi:10.1055/s-0035-1565542
8   Synthesis, applications and mechanistic investigations of C2 Symmetric Guanidinium salts Allingham, M. T.; Bennett, E. L.; Davies, D. H.; Harper, P.M.; Howard-Jones, A. Mehdar, Y. T. H. Murphy, P. J.; Dafydd A. Thomas, Tetrahedron, 2016, 72, 496-503. doi:10.1016/j.tet.2015.11.058

Number of Publications: 100; Number of citations: ~1800; h-index: 25

Editorial and Professional Service

Fellow of the RSC
EPSRC chemisty panel member

BEACON Activities

Group leader with special interest in natural product isolation, synthetic modification. A general interest in isolation and synthesis or modification of naturally occurring metabolites, and to investigate their novel antimicrobial, anticancer, antiviral, antioxidant or anti-parasitic activity. An interest in polar water soluble natural products which have been largely overlooked in traditional screening methods. Peptide chemistry, isolation of novel biologically active peptides and the synthesis of their peptoid analogues for therapy.

Future Plans

Microalgae, blue green algae and cyanobacteria
Isolation of bioactives from microalgaes and identify them (if unknown) and to appraise activity such as anti-fungal and antimicrobial activity. Possible company: Algaecytes ( in collaboration with Adam Charlton, Radek Bragança and Loretta Murphy.

Daffodil alkaloids
Higher plants and microorganisms produce a wide array of natural products many of which have found direct application as clinically active drugs or have been the inspiration to medicinal chemists who have designed novel pharmaceuticals. The potential for drug discovery within the plant base in Wales and the UK is considerable as there remains a large number of unexploited diverse structural types within relatively common plants. We are interested in the isolation and structural determination of these novel structures as well as their application as potential pharmaceuticals. Daffodils are a source of a diverse range of alkaloids which are largely unexploited as pharmaceutical precursors with galantamine being the exception as this has been studied and has some potential for the treatment of early stage alzheimer's disease. Access to large quantities galantamine and also the less well studies alkaloids is desirable and will allow the preparation of analogues of these compounds.

Squill Extracts
Squill (Urginea maritima) is used in a number of anti-cough preparations such as Covonia (from Thorntonross), but it’s is traditionally sourced from the wild in India and Northern Africa. The present project aims at checking if the profile of the actives of the UK-growth squill is similar or different than the ones usually used by industry.

Novel antibacterial agents
The isolation of new metabolites and plant extracts will be useful for antibiotic drug discovery. An access to naturally occurring novel chemical diversity will help find new, diverse compounds to combat the evolving superbug crisis.