Graham Murphy wins Canadian Society for Chemistry’s Keith Fagnou Award

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Graham Murphy
Congratulations to Professor Graham Murphy of the Department of Chemistry, who was awarded the 2021 Keith Fagnou Award by the Canadian Society for Chemistry (CSC). The award, sponsored by the University of Ottawa and the CSC’s Organic Chemistry Division, is presented to a distinguished organic chemist in Canada within 12 years of receiving their PhD.

“Knowing the accomplishments of the previous award recipients, and given the depth of talent of Canada’s younger organic chemistry faculty, I am honoured and humbled by this recognition,” said Murphy.

According to Prof. Murphy, organic chemistry is all about solving problems at a molecular level. His discovery-based research exploits the chemistry of iodine as a reaction mediator, enabling new ways to prepare known compounds and also to expand the scope of what is possible. This has led to ground-breaking fluorination research, and to rare iodine-catalyzed carbon-carbon bond forming reactions or blue LED-mediated reactions, which are both exceptional examples of bypassing the need for precious metals in synthetic chemistry.

Prof. Murphy also uses his synthetic expertise to address specific problems of societal import, from developing designer electrolytes for high-density energy storage, to developing novel precursors to PET radiotracers for medical imaging.

“It is largely the achievements of the students who have worked in my lab over the last decade that are being recognized with this Fagnou Award,” said Murphy. “From the newest of wide-eyed coop students to my seasoned postdoctoral researchers, the dedication, creativity and enthusiasm that they show year after year is what makes my job so special.”

The Keith Fagnou Award is named after Professor Keith Fagnou of the University of Ottawa, a superstar in organic chemistry who tragically passed away in 2009. 

Congratulations, Professor Murphy!