Prof John Stephens

Chemistry, Human Health Institute


Science Building
(01) 708 6942


NUI Galway, BSc, 1999

NUI Galway, PhD, 2004
University of Nottingham, Postdoctoral Scientist, 2004-2005
University of Nottingham, Junior Lecturer, 2004
Maynooth University
, Assistant Professor/Lecturer, 2005-2012
Maynooth University, Head of Department 2012-2017
Maynooth University, Associate Professor/Senior Lecturer, 2016-2020
MIT, USA, Visiting Professor April-May 2019
Maynooth University, Professor 2020-

Research Interests

Research in the Stephens Group is focused on the discovery and application of new technologies such as continuous flow, new reactions, and new catalysts in organic synthesis, as well as applications of organic chemistry at the interface of chemistry & biology. Many of our research targets have potential as molecules of biological significance. We focus on projects with medicinal endpoints, including diabetes, cancer, and bacterial/fungal infections, as well as projects at the intersection between chemistry & food science. Our research has been supported by several funding agencies (EI, SFI, IRC, EU) and partnering with industry is an important aspect of our work (AF Chempharm, Dual Systems, others confidentially). Through a structured PhD programme we provide an excellent in-depth training in organic synthesis and in the interdisciplinary space between chemistry & biology.  ‘Hot’ project areas where we have enjoyed significant successes include: asymmetric catalysis, synthetic methodology development, antidiabetic agent discovery, and antimicrobial agent discovery.

Peer Reviewed Journal

Year Publication
2021 Kinsella G.K.; Cannito S.; Bordano V.; Stephens J.C.; Rosa A.C.; Miglio G.; Guaschino V.; Iannaccone V.; Findlay J.B.C.; Benetti E. (2021) 'GPR21 inhibition increases glucose-uptake in HepG2 cells'. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 22 (19). [DOI]
2021 He Z.; Charleton C.; Devine R.W.; Kelada M.; Walsh J.M.D.; Conway G.E.; Gunes S.; Mondala J.R.M.; Tian F.; Tiwari B.; Kinsella G.K.; Malone R.; O'Shea D.; Devereux M.; Wang W.; Cullen P.J.; Stephens J.C.; Curtin J.F. (2021) 'Enhanced pyrazolopyrimidinones cytotoxicity against glioblastoma cells activated by ROS-Generating cold atmospheric plasma'. European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 224 . [DOI]
2021 Kate F. Byrne, Ajay Pal, James F. Curtin, John C. Stephens, Gemma K. Kinsella (2021) 'G-protein Coupled Receptors as therapeutic targets for Glioblastoma'. Drug Discovery Today, 26 (12).
2020 R. Devine, M. Kelada, S. Leonard, D. S. D. Martin, J. M. D. Walsh, C. J. Breen, R. B. Driver, G. K. Kinsella, J. B. C. Findlay, J. C. Stephens (2020) 'Design, synthesis, and biological evaluation of aryl piperazines with potential as antidiabetic agents via the stimulation of glucose uptake and inhibition of NADH:ubiquinone oxidoreductase'. European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 202 (112416). [DOI]
2020 Timothy M. Monos, Jonathan N. Jaworski, John C. Stephens, Timothy F. Jamison (2020) 'Continuous-Flow Synthesis of Tramadol from Cyclohexanone'. Synlett, 31 (19):1888-1893. [DOI]
2020 R. Devine, D. S. D. Martin, G. K. Kinsella, J. B. C. Findlay, J. C. Stephens (2020) 'Characterization of an aryl piperazine/ 2-hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin association, a complex with antidiabetic potential'. Results in Chemistry, 2 (100026). [DOI]
2019 Doyle A.A.; Krämer T.; Kavanagh K.; Stephens J.C. (2019) 'Cinnamaldehydes: Synthesis, antibacterial evaluation, and the effect of molecular structure on antibacterial activity'. Results in Chemistry, 1 . [DOI]
2019 Doyle AA; Stephens JC; (2019) 'A review of cinnamaldehyde and its derivatives as antibacterial agents'. Fitoterapia, 139 (104405). [DOI] [Full-Text]
2019 Mc Namara L.; Dolan S.; Walsh J.; Stephens J.; Glare T.; Kavanagh K.; Griffin C. (2019) 'Oosporein, an abundant metabolite in Beauveria caledonica, with a feedback induction mechanism and a role in insect virulence'. Fungal Biology, 123 (8):601-610. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2019 Marchetti L.; Kumawat L.; Mao N.; Stephens J.; Elmes R. (2019) 'The Versatility of Squaramides: From Supramolecular Chemistry to Chemical Biology'. Chem, 5 (6):1398-1485. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2018 Mark Kelada, John M. D. Walsh, Robert W. Devine, Patrick McArdle, and John C. Stephens (2018) 'Synthesis of pyrazolopyrimidinones using a “one-pot” approach and microwave irradiation'. Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry, 14 :1222-1228. [Link] [DOI] [Full-Text]
2016 Dolan, N; Gavin, DP; Eshwika, A; Kavanagh, K; McGinley, J; Stephens, JC (2016) 'Synthesis, antibacterial and anti-MRSA activity, in vivo toxicity and a structure-activity relationship study of a quinoline thiourea'. Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters, 26 :630-635. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2016 Martin DS; Leonard S; Devine R; Redondo C; Kinsella GK; Breen CJ; McEneaney V; Rooney MF; Munsey TS; Porter RK; Sivaprasadarao A; Stephens JC; Findlay J; (2016) 'Novel mitochondrial complex I inhibitors restore glucose-handling abilities of high-fat fed mice'. Molecular Endocrinology, . [DOI] [Full-Text]
2016 Murphy, John J.; Driver, Ross B.; Walsh, Ria ; Stephens; John C (2016) 'Synthesis of an Imidazolidinone Organocatalyst and Its Application in a Diels–Alder Cycloaddition: A Multistep Experiment for the Organic Teaching Laboratory'. Journal of Chemical Education, . [Link] [DOI] [Full-Text]
2015 Curtin, AM; Kinsella, GK; Stephens, JC (2015) 'Computational Development of Selective nNOS Inhibitors: Binding Modes and Pharmacokinetic Considerations'. Current Medicinal Chemistry, 22 :2558-2579. [Full-Text]
2014 Dolan, N; McGinley, J; Stephens, JC; Kavanagh, K; Hurley, D; Maher, NJ (2014) 'Synthesis, characterisation and antimicrobial studies of organotin(IV) complexes with 1,10-phenanthroline derivatives'. Inorganica Chimica Acta, 409 :276-284. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2013 Pezzati, B; Chellat, MF; Murphy, JJ; Besnard, C; Reginato, G; Stephens, JC; Alexakis, A (2013) 'Organocatalytic Asymmetric Annulation of 1,3-Bis(alkoxycarbonyl)buta-1,3-dienes and Aldehydes'. Organic Letters, 15 :2950-2953. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2013 Gavin, DP; Stephens, JC (2013) 'Selective Michael additions to alkylidenemalonates using thiourea-based bifunctional organocatalysts'. Arkivoc, :76-87. [Full-Text]
2011 Gavin D.; Stephens J. (2011) 'Organocatalytic enantioselective Michael addition of β-diketones to β-nitrostyrene: The first Michael addition of dipivaloylmethane to an activated olefin'. Arkivoc, 2011 (9):407-421. [Full-Text]
2011 Murphy, JJ; Quintard, A; McArdle, P; Alexakis, A; Stephens, JC (2011) 'Asymmetric Organocatalytic 1,6-Conjugate Addition of Aldehydes to Dienic Sulfones'. Angewandte Chemie - International Edition, 50 :5095-5098. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2011 Davis, C; Carberry, S; Schrettl, M; Singh, I; Stephens, JC; Barry, SM; Kavanagh, K; Challis, GL; Brougham, D; Doyle, S (2011) 'The Role of Glutathione S-Transferase GliG in Gliotoxin Biosynthesis in Aspergillus fumigatus'. Chemistry and Biology, 18 :542-552. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2010 Schrettl, M; Carberry, S; Kavanagh, K; Haas, H; Jones, GW; O'Brien, J; Nolan, A; Stephens, J; Fenelon, O; Doyle, S (2010) 'Self-Protection against Gliotoxin-A Component of the Gliotoxin Biosynthetic Cluster, GliT, Completely Protects Aspergillus fumigatus Against Exogenous Gliotoxin'. PLoS Pathogens, 6 . [DOI] [Full-Text]
2008 Stephens J.C., Butler R.N., Hanniffy J.M., Burke L.A. (2008) 'A ceric ammonium nitrate (CAN) N-dearylation of N-p-anisylazoles applied to pyrazole, triazole, tetrazole and pentazole rings: Release of parent azoles. Generation of unstable pentazole, HN5/N5-, in solution'. Journal of Organic Chemistry, 73 :1354-1364. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2007 Stephens J.C., Blake A.J., Shannon J., Woodward S. (2007) 'Demonstration of promoted zinc Schlenk equilibria, their equilibrium values and derived reactivity'. Chemistry - A European Journal, 13 :2462-2472. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2006 Butler, Richard N.; Fahy, Aoife M.; Fox, Anthony; Stephens, John C.; McArdle, P.; Cunningham, D.; Ryder, A. (2006) 'One-​Pot Synthesis of Fluorescent 2,​5-​Dihydro-​1,​2,​3-​triazine Derivatives from a Cascade Rearrangement Sequence in the Reactions of 1,​2,​3-​Triazolium-​1-​aminide 1,​3-​Dipoles with Propiolate Esters'. Journal of Organic Chemistry, 71 :5679-5687. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2006 Stephens J. C., Butler R. N., Fahy A. M., Fox A., McArdle P., Cunningham D. and Ryder A. G. (2006) 'New reactive fluorophores in the 1,2,3-triazine series'. Tetrahedron Letters, 47 :1721-1724. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2005 Timofte, Roxana S.; Titman, Jeremy J.; Shao, Limin; Stephens, John C.; Woodward, Simon (2005) 'Investigations into the utility of high-​surface area silica pellets as potential solid-​phase synthesis supports'. Tetrahedron, 65 :51-59. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2004 Robinson, Richard I.; Stephens, John C.; Worden, Steve M.; Blake, Alexander J.; Wilson, Claire; Woodward, Simon (2004) 'Sulfonic acid libraries attained through opening of 2-​sulfobenzoic acid anhydride'. European Journal of Organic Chemistry, 22 :4596-4605. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2004 Butler, R. N.; Stephens, John C.; Hanniffy, John M. (2004) 'First reversible protonation of the all-​nitrogen 1-​aryl pentazole ring'. Tetrahedron Letters, 45 :1977-1979. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2003 Butler, R. N.; Stephens, John C.; Burke, Luke A. (2003) 'First generation of pentazole (HN5, pentazolic acid)​, the final azole, and a zinc pentazolate salt in solution: A new N-​dearylation of 1-​(p-​methoxyphenyl) pyrazoles, a 2-​(p-​methoxyphenyl) tetrazole and application of the methodology to 1-​(p-​methoxyphenyl) pentazole'. Chemical Communications, 8 :1016-1017. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2001 Burke, Luke A.; Butler, Richard N.; Stephens, John C. (2001) 'Theoretical characterization of pentazole anion with metal counter ions. Calculated and experimental 15N shifts of aryldiazonium, -​azide and -​pentazole systems'. Journal of the Chemical Society, Perkin Transactions 2, 9 :1679-1684. [DOI] [Full-Text]

Newspaper Articles

Year Publication
2019 John C Stephens (2019) Science matters: Exercise induced pulmonary haemorrhage. [Newspaper Articles] [Link]
2019 John C Stephens (2019) Science matters: No foot, no horse. [Newspaper Articles] [Link]
2019 John C Stephens (2019) Science matters: Hair to stay?. [Newspaper Articles] [Link]
2019 John C Stephens (2019) Science matters: You can bring a horse to water. [Newspaper Articles] [Link]
2019 John C Stephens (2019) Science matters: Go with your gut. [Newspaper Articles] [Link]
Certain data included herein are derived from the © Web of Science (2023) of Clarivate. All rights reserved.