Craig Paterson Johnston


  • KY16 9ST

    United Kingdom

Accepting Postgraduate Research Students

Personal profile


Craig completed his undergraduate degree (MChem) at the University of St Andrews in 2009. He then obtained his DPhil from the University of Oxford in 2013 under the supervision of Prof. Martin D. Smith. In 2014, Craig was awarded a Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellowship to pursue postdoctoral studies in Prof. David W. C. MacMillan's research group at Princeton University. After two years, he returned to Scotland for the return phase of his fellowship as a postdoctoral research associate with Prof. Guy C. Lloyd-Jones at the University of Edinburgh. In October 2018, Craig started his independent research career as a Royal Society University Research Fellow at the University of St Andrews.

Teaching activity

Craig delivers five lectures on the topic of Medicinal Chemistry (CH2601), seven lectures on synthetic organic methodologies (CH3612) and nine lectures on asymmetric catalysis (CH5611). He is a tutor for the following modules: CH1601 (Organic and Biological Chemistry 1), CH2601 (Organic Chemistry 2), and CH4461/5461 (Integrating Chemistry). He also regularly supervises undergraduate students undertaking a scientific writing module (CH4431), chemistry projects based in a dedicated research lab (CH4442/5441), and external placements (CH4441). 

Research overview

Our research program broadly focuses on the development of new catalytic transformations that are efficient, sustainable, and selective. These provide practical synthetic routes towards biologically active molecules that are relevant to the pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries. In general, synthetic organic chemistry is dominated by ionic reactions (two-electron processes) despite the complementary and versatile reactivity of radical intermediates (one-electron processes). This can be rationalised by the lack of methodologies available to control the absolute stereochemistry in radical transformations. To address this challenge, we are developing fundamentally new strategies for conducting catalytic enantioselective radical reactions. Our approach is guided by detailed mechanistic and kinetic studies, which provides valuable insight for directing the optimisation of the catalyst(s) and reaction conditions.

For more information see the CPJ group website:

Profile Keywords

organic synthesis; photocatalysis; base metal catalysis; enantioselective radical reactions; kinetic and mechanistic studies


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