Browse/search for people

Professor Jonathan Clayden


Jonathan Clayden was born in Uganda in 1968, grew up in the county of Essex, in the East of England, and was an undergraduate at Churchill College, Cambridge.  In 1992 he completed a PhD at the University of Cambridge with Dr Stuart Warren.  After postdoctoral work with Professor Marc Julia at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, he moved in 1994 to Manchester as a lecturer.  In 2001 he was promoted to a chair in organic chemistry in Manchester, and in 2015 he moved to a position as Professor Chemistry at the University of Bristol.

He has published over 280 papers, and his research interests encompass various areas of synthesis and stereochemistry, particularly where conformation has a role to play: asymmetric synthesis, atropisomerism, organolithium chemistry, and long-range (from 1,20 to 1,60 and beyond) stereocontrol. He has uncovered new classes of atropisomers, and developed new methods for their synthesis. He is partlcularly interested in the reactive properties of functional groups displaying restricted rotation, especially amides and ureas.  In this area, he has invented new ways to use aromatic rings as precursors to non-aromatic biologically active compounds, including the Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning toxins (–)-Isodomoic Acid B, C, E and F, and has developed efficient new synthetic methods for for C–C bond formation by rearrangements of ureas and related functions. His group have designed and explored the function of synthetic molecules with conformational properties that allow them to mimic biological information-processing systems, including the first fully synthetic membrane-bound receptor mimics.

He is a co-author of the widely used textbook “Organic Chemistry” (Clayden, Greeves and Warren, 2nd edn., published by OUP 2012), and his book “Organolithiums: Selectivity for Synthesis” was published by Pergamon in 2002.

He has received the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Meldola (1997) and Corday Morgan (2003) medals, Stereochemistry Prize (2005), Hickinbottom Fellowship (2006), Merck Prize (2011) and Tilden Prize (2018), and received the Novartis Young European Investigator Award (2004). He has held senior research fellowships from the Leverhulme Trust and the Royal Society, a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit award (2011-2016) and a European Research Council Advanced Investigator Grant (€2.5M, 2011-2016).




School of Chemistry

Chemistry staff

Research sections