Prof. Richard F. W. Jackson

Richard Jackson

Professor of Synthetic Organic Chemistry
Department of Chemistry
The University of Sheffield
Brook Hill
Sheffield S3 7HF
United Kingdom

Telephone: +44 (0) 114 222 9464

Jackson Group Website

Biographical Sketch

Prof. Jackson obtained his BA in Chemistry from the University of Cambridge in 1981. After his PhD (Cambridge 1984) he became a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the ETH in Zürich, Switzerland. In 1985 he was appointed to a lectureship at the University of Newcastle, where he was promoted to Reader in 1994 and to Professor in Synthetic Organic Chemistry in 1996. In 2001 he was appointed to a Chair in Synthesis at the University of Sheffield. He served as Head of the Department of Chemistry from 2003-2007, returning to this role for a further term  between 2011-2014.

Professional Qualifications & Memberships

Research Keywords

Organic Synthesis, organozinc chemistry, combinatorial and asymmetric catalysis

Teaching Interests

Organic Chemistry


I carried out research for my PhD under the supervision of the late Professor Ralph Raphael. I developed a new route to dihydrofuranones, and completed a synthetic approach to the Pseudomonic acids. With this training in target synthesis, I spent one year at the ETH, Zürich, working with Professor Dieter Seebach on the synthesis of a derivative of the macrodiolide Elaiophylin.

I returned to the UK in 1985 to take up a lectureship in Newcastle. Our initial work was in nucleophilic epoxidation, and epoxide anion chemistry, but we also initiated a programme in the area of unnatural amino acid synthesis. We found that organozinc derivatives of amino acids could be prepared, were surprisingly stable, and provided an easy route to a large variety of useful compounds. This latter area blossomed, and resulted in various awards, from Pfizer, Zeneca and the Hickinbottom Fellowship of the Royal Society of Chemistry.


More recently, we have extended our research to the area of asymmetric catalysis, and discovered a simple method for the asymmetric epoxidation of enones, and a highly efficient method for the asymmetric oxidation of alkyl aryl sulfides to the corresponding sulfoxides. We are also interested in solid phase chemistry, and the application of combinatorial techniques to the discovery of new catalysts.


Undergraduate and postgraduate taught modules

  • Organic Chemistry 2 (Level 1)
    This lecture course provides an introduction into the structure and reactivity of carbonyl compounds with particular emphasis on aldehydes and ketones.
  • Metals in Organic Synthesis (Level 4)
    This course describes the use of organometallic reagents in synthesis. In particular, the use of both stoichiometric organometallics and transition metal catalysts is illustrated.


Journal articles