Personal profile


Professor G. Richard Stephenson, FRSC, CChem, SFHEA, started his career as a Research Fellow at the Australian National University (Canberra) and a Senior Research Fellow at Girton College, Cambridge, before moving to UEA, first as a Royal Society University Research Fellow, and then as Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Reader, and most recently as Professor of Synthetic and Pharmaceutical Chemistry. During this time, Stephenson has been a supervisor to 45 completed PhD theses, and remains on the supervisory team for a further 6 graduate students. Twenty one postdocs and senior visitors have worked in the group during the 38 years that Stephenson has been a member of faculty at UEA. In 2000, Stephenson was Visiting Professor at the Université de Caen; in 2001, Invited Professor at Université Paris VI; and in 2003, he was Invited Professor at the Université Catholique de Louvain. Stephenson held a Visiting Fellowship at the Australian National University in 2006, and was UEA’s lead investigator in the ‘Innovative Synthesis: Chemistry and Entrepreneurship’ (IS:CE-chem) and ‘Academy-Industry Chemistry-Channel’ (AIcc) EU Interreg IVA projects (2009-2015), which together have contributed 2.5 million euros of ERDF funding to the Organic Sector in the School of Chemistry and supported 15 PhD students in the Science Faculty at UEA. Until his retirement in 2022, he was the leader of UEA’s ‘Open Lab Africa’ project and as emeritus professor he continues his association with this international network of scientists targeting neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in Africa. He is the founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Cellexcel Ltd, a UEA spin-out company developing water-resistant biocomposites (

Selected Publications

(−)-Brunneusine, a new phenolic compound with antibacterial properties in aqueous medium from the leaves of Agelanthus brunneus. (Engl.) Tiegh (LORANTHACEAE)
Wieland Moifo Kuete, T., Ambassa, P., Luciane Moungang, M., Ngameni, B., Storr, T. E., Ngadjui Tchaleu, B. & Stephenson, G. R., Mar 2022, In: Zeitschrift für Naturforschung C. 77, 3-4, p. 157-165 9 p.

Synthesis of novel stilbene–coumarin derivatives and antifungal screening of monotes kerstingii-specialized metabolites against fusarium oxysporum.
Fotso, G. W., Ngameni, B., Storr, T. E., Ngadjui, B. T., Mafu, S. & Stephenson, G. R., 25 Aug 2020, In: Antibiotics. 9, 9, p. 1-13 13 p., 537.

Trypanocidal and leishmanicidal activity of six limonoids.
Steverding, D., Sidjui, L. S., Ferreira, É. R., Ngameni, B. N., Folefoc, G. N., Mahiou-Leddet, V., Ollivier, E., Stephenson, G. R., Storr, T. & Tyler, K., Jun 2020, In: Journal of Natural Medicines. 74, 3, p. 606–611 6 p.

Induction of Planar Chirality Using Asymmetric Click Chemistry by a Novel Desymmetrisation of 1,3-Bisalkynyl Ferrocenes.
Wright, A. J., Hughes, D. L., Bulman Page, P. C. & Stephenson, G. R., 24 Nov 2019, In: European Journal of Organic Chemistry. 2019, 43, p. 7218-7222

Discovery of Small Molecule WWP2 Ubiquitin Ligase Inhibitors.
Watt, J., Hughes, G., Walpole, S., Monaco, S., Stephenson, G., Bulman Page, P., Hemmings, A., J. & Chantry, A., 3 Dec 2018, In: Chemistry - A European Journal. 24, 67, p. 17677-17680 4


Key Research Interests

‘Open Lab Africa’
The neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) still cause great human suffering in some of the poorest countries on the planet. The UEA ‘Open Lab Africa’ project is adopting a fresh and novel approach to this global challenge in a collaborative effort with Duvendack, Gallash, Hamilton, McDermott, (Schools of Development Studies, Law, and Pharmacy) at UEA and Frey (University of Southampton) together with institutes in Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. The synthetic chemistry part of the project involves the identification and synthesis of new lead structures and their analogues in a fragment-based approach towards new capabilities to address particular NTDs which are of most serious or growing concern in the subSaharan region of Africa. The project combines an Open Lab-Book and Open Med-Chem approach which invites institutes and specialists around the world to follow, advise, and even join in the project.

Research Funding

Big C
Synthesis and evaluation of X-ray structure inspired ubiquitin ligase inhibitors as anticancer lead compounds
Stephenson, GR
1-Oct-20 – 30-Sept-23
£ 89349.

Novel Water Resistant Flax Bio-composites
21-Jun-20 – 20 Sept-21
Stephenson, GR

Leverhulme Trust
Asymmetric 'click'-synthesis of helicenes
Stephenson, GR
27-Mar-17 – 26-Mar-20
£ 166,029

Towards fully sustainable high-performance biocomposites for lightweight vehicles
Stephenson, GR
01-Apr-16 – 31-Mar-18
£ 285,179

EU Interreg IVA
Academie-Industrie Chemistry Channel (A-I chem channel)
Stephenson, GR
02-Nov-11 – 30-June-2015
€ 988,444

Highly anisotopic helicene-based NLOphores for two photon circular dichroism
Stephenson, GR
01-Oct-09 – 30-Sept-13
£ 270,570

EU Interreg IVA
Innovative Synthesis: Chemistry and Entrepreneurship (IS:CE chem)
Stephenson, GR
01-June-08 – 30-Sept-13
€ 1,597,285

Daphne Jackson Trust
Introducing a new twist to photonics
Fellowship for K. Hamilton
01-July-08 – 30-June-10
£ 38,817
Nanoscale and molecular photonics
Meech, SR, Cammidge, AN, Andrews, DL, Reading, M, Stephenson, GR, Mayes, AG and Barker, S
01-Sep-05 - 31-Aug-07

EU COST Chemistry D26: European collaboration for calculation inspired synthesis of NLO responsive aryl and helicenyl organometallics Stephenson, GR
01-Jul-06 - 31-Jul-07

Enantioselective organoiron / heterocycloaddition approach to hippeastrine
Stephenson, GR
01-Mar-03 - 31-Mar-06

European collaboration to synthesise and evaluate NLO compounds with novel photorefractive properties
Stephenson, GR
30-Jul-02 –

SmithKline Beecham
CASE Award: Custom synthesis and automated evaluation to optimise the asymmetric Heck reaction
Stephenson, GR
01-Oct-01 - 30-Sep-04

Organometallic dipoles with NLO properties
Stephenson, G R
01-Mar-98 – 28-Feb-02

Studentship: Synthesis of stable-isotope-labelled lipids for nutritional studies
Stephenson, G R and Shepherd, MJ (CSL)
01-Oct-98 - 30-Sep-01

CASE Award: Develop catalytic versions of stoichiometric organometallic reactions
Stephenson, G R
01-Oct-98 - 30-Sep-01


Areas of Expertise

Organic synthesis; organometallic chemistry; biotechnology; natural products chemistry; bio-organic chemistry.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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