Institution / Nui Galway /

Chemistry - Structured

Course overview
The School of Chemistry has strengths in synthesis, natural product synthesis, structure determination, theoretical and computational chemistry, analytical chemistry, physical chemistry, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, natural products chemistry and marine biodiscovery, medicinal chemistry and materials chemistry. In recent years the Schools output in terms of peer reviewed publications has grown significantly. The School has graduated ~350 PhD students since 1970. More than 60% of these graduates are employed in Irish Industry with the remainder working in the public sector or in education. A number have successful careers outside Ireland. Research activity within the School of Chemistry involves over 70 postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the following research areas:

Analytical Chemistry: There are research themes concerned with the implementation of spectroscopy, electro chemistry, and chemometrics based methods for the development of new analytical methods. Application areas include bio-pharmaceutical and pharmaceutical production processes, environmental sensing, petroleum characterization, and materials for medical devices. The School has top quality MS, NMR (400, 500 and 600 MHz) & X-ray facilities. There is also access to various microscopy techniques. These analytical facilities are used throughout the School.

Synthesis & Mechanism: More than half the School’s research students are engaged in synthesis as part of their research. This includes natural products synthesis, heterocycles, asymmetric synthesis, photochemistry, inorganic materials, carbohydrate synthesis, biomolecular synthesis, pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical synthesis.

Chemistry Advancing Biology & Medicine: This involves development of biomaterials with potential application in drug delivery. There is also interest in magnetic materials, and new bioactive compounds. The latter have potential as therapeutics for areas such as cancer and infection. There is expertise in carbohydrates, glycoconjugates, proteins, heterocyclic molecules and natural products their development as bioactive agents. Targets include DNA, lectins, and various protein targets, including protein-protein interactions. Design of bioactive compounds is carried out using computational techniques.

Green Chemistry and Energy: Research is concerned with developing the fuels and green chemistry of the future. There are projects in combustion chemistry, biomolecular electronics, energy and environmentally friendly synthesis of small molecules and macromolecules.

Combustion Chemistry Research: The Combustion Chemistry Centre, C3 is engaged in fundamental research on the combustion of fossil and biofuels. Combustion is the ultimate interdisciplinary field: it requires knowledge of chemistry, physics, fluid dynamics, thermodynamics and mathematics. In addition, combustion science has a well defined purpose in society today, facilitating the study and analysis of problems associated with the generation of air pollutants. C3 is concerned with the application of combustion research to the design of energy-efficient engine and gas turbine combustion systems and the impact of their use on toxic and greenhouse gas emissions, thus helping address the problems of urban air pollution and climate change.

Natural Products Chemistry and Marine Biodiscovery: This research covers drug discovery from natural sources, particularly from Irish marine organisms. It involves bioprospecting, extraction, purification and structure elucidation of novel natural drug leads which can be developed pharmaceutically against cancer, infectious diseases and CNS disorders. Another interest is the discovery of bioactive marine food ingredients which may benefit human health by inclusion in the diet.

Entry requirements

To be eligible to enter on a programme of study and research for the degree of PhD you must have reached a high honours standard at the examination for the primary degree or presented such evidence as will satisfy the Head of School and the College of your fitness.


Structured PhD, full-time

Further enquiries

Prof. Paul Murphy
T +353 91 492 465

Research areas

Areas of interest

F. Aldabbagh
Organic and Polymer Synthesis & Mechanism, Cancer Research, Heterocyclic Chemistry, Radicals (incl. photochemistry), Polymerizations (incl. controlled/living), Supercritical Carbon Dioxide.

P. Crowley
Molecular Recognition, Protein-protein & Protein-Small Molecule Interactions, Structural Biology, In-Cell NMR Spectroscopy.

H. J. Curran
Combustion Chemistry, Biofuels, Fuel Efficiency, Emissions Reduction, Global Warming.

A. Erxleben
Metal-Based Drugs, DNA and peptide hydrolysis, Coordination Chemistry, Crystal Structures and Polymorphism of Pharmaceutical Solids.

N. Geraghty
Photochemistry, Green Chemistry.

D. Leech
Electrochemistry, Bioelectrochemistry, Analytical Chemistry, Sensors and Diagnostics, Industrial Electrochemistry, Energy, Marine and Environmental Electrochemical Technologies.

P. V. Murphy
Organic synthesis, natural product synthesis. Anti-tumour and anti-infective compounds, carbohydrates & glycoconjugate synthesis. Bioactive molecule design & synthesis especially inhibiting carbohydrate-lectin interactions and protein protein interactions using glycomimetics and peptidomimetics.

P. O’Leary
Organic synthesis, Asymmetric Catalysis, Ligand Design, Immobilisation, Bioactive Product Synthesis.

Y. Rochev

Dr Luca Ronconi
Bioinorganic and medicinal chemistry, metal-based anticancer agents, interaction between metal complexes and biologically-relevant macromolecules, inorganic synthesis, coordination compounds, targeted chemotherapy.

A.G. Ryder
Analytical Chemistry, Biopharmaceutical/Pharmaceutical Manufacturing, Environmental Monitoring, Medical Devices.

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