Department of Chemistry


Professor of Organic Chemistry

1 South 0.17


Tel: +44 (0) 1225 383942 

Personal website


Prof Jonathan Williams


Research interests

Research in the Williams group is mainly involved with the use of transition metals for the synthesis of useful organic molecules.  In particular, we have been developing reactions using ‘borrowing hydrogen.’  In this chemistry, ruthenium or iridium catalysts temporarily remove hydrogen to give an aldehyde.  This aldehyde then reacts to give an alkene (or imine) and the hydrogen is then returned to give a C-C or C-N bond.  These procedures allow alcohols to be used as alkylating agents in place of more conventional, but often toxic/mutagenic alkyl halides.

Individual Areas

  • Irreversible hydrogen transfer reactions
  • Deracemisation of secondary alcohols
  • C-N Bond formation from alcohols
  • C-C Bond formation from alcohols
  • Heterocycle synthesis
  • Amides and nitriles from oximes


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