Research Guides



We are an organic chemistry group with broad interests. We are currently involved in develop new catalytic asymmetric methods for synthesis and designing chemical systems to study and understand important processes.  Our current efforts can be roughly divided into the following areas.  

1. Asymmetric catalysis

There is a need to develop new methods that use simple and readily available starting materials to make complex molecules.  The emphasis of these studies is on developing powerful new methods as well as mechanistic studies and applications of the method to important molecules .

2. Origins of life

The origins of life are not well understood and this is one of the great questions in contemporary science. We design and study chemical systems that self-replicate and have emergent properties and may be relevant to prebiotic chemistry.

Selected Publications

​Visualisation of the spontaneous emergence of a complex, dynamic and autocatalytic system. J. Ortega-Arroyo, A. J. Bissette, P. Kukura and S. P. Fletcher. ​Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2016, 113, 11122-11126. 

Rhodium-catalysed asymmetric allylic arylation of racemic halides with arylboronic acids. M. Sidera and S. P. Fletcher. Nature Chem. 20157, 935-939. 

Barrierless photoisomerization of 11-cis retinal protonated Schiff base in solution. G. Bassolino, T. Sovdat, A. Soares Duarte, J.-M. Lim, C. Schnedermann, M. Liebel, B. Odell, T. D. W. Claridge, S. P. Fletcher and P. Kukura. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2015137, 12434–12437. 

Non-stabilized nucleophiles in Cu-catalysed dynamic kinetic asymmetric allylic alkylation. H. You, E. Rideau, M. Sidera and S. P. Fletcher. Nature 2015517, 351–355. 

Physical autocatalysis driven by a bond-forming thiol-ene reaction. A. J. Bissette, B. Odell and S. P. Fletcher. Nature Comm2014, 5, 4607.

Conversion of light into macroscopic helical motion. S. Iamsaard, S. J. Aβhoff, B. Matt, T. Kudernac, J. J. L. M. Cornelissen, S. P. Fletcher and N. Katsonis. Nature Chem. 2014, 6, 229-235.

Synthetic control of retinal photochemistry and photophysics in solution. G. Bassolino, T. Sovdat, M. Liebel, C. Schnedermann, B. Odell, T. D. W. Claridge, P. Kukura and S. P. Fletcher. J. Am. Chem. Soc2014, 136, 2650-2658. 

Mechanisms of autocatalysis.  A. J. Bissette and S. P. Fletcher. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 201352, 12800–12826.  

Formation of quaternary centers by copper-catalyzed asymmetric conjugate addition of alkylzirconium reagents.  M. Sidera, P. M. C. Roth, R. M. Maksymowicz and S. P. Fletcher. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 201352, 7995–7999.

Catalytic asymmetric carbon-carbon bond formation using alkenes as alkylmetal equivalents.  R. M. Maksymowicz, P. M. C. Roth and S. P. Fletcher. Nature Chem20124​, 649–654.

Backbone modification of retinal induces protein-like excited state dynamics in solution.  T. Sovdat, G. Bassolino, M. Liebel, C. Schnedermann, S. P. Fletcher and P. Kukura.  J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2012, 134, 8318-8320. 

Professor Stephen P. Fletcher

Organic Chemistry

Telephone: 44 (0) 1865 275 642