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Welcome to the McErlean Research Group website.

Our research efforts are centred on the development of reactions, processes and strategies to enable the efficient synthesis of organic molecules. Despite a growing perception that 'organic synthesis' is a mature discipline, many challenges remain. Overcoming these obstacles is central to any future developments in the sciences.


Our laboratory is situated within the School of Chemistry at the University of Sydney, Australia's oldest university. The Chemistry Building is located on the Camperdown campus, within walking distance (or a short bus ride) from the scenic Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House.

The School of Chemistry is equipped with an outstanding array of cutting-edge scientific instrumentation that enables our group to tackle chemistry problems of international significance. These research projects also provide excellent training for the students and postdoctoral fellows who work in the group.bridge

We hope that you take the time to look around the website and learn more about the group. Please use the buttons on the left to navigate around this site.



March 2016 - Congratulations to Dr Katherine Law for the conferral of her degree.

March 2016 - Welcome to Robbie, who has joined the group for his PhD studies.

February 2016 - Welcome to Martina, who is joining the group for her Honours project.

January 2016 - Welcome back to Liam who returns from a successful research stay in the Burton labs at Oxford.

December 2015 - Congratulations to Dr Philip Norcott for the conferral of his degree

December 2015 - Farewell to Dr Joanne Morris who did a fantastic job during her time in the McErelan lab.


Christopher S. P. McErlean

School of Chemistry, F11
The University of Sydney,
NSW, 2006
ph. +61 2 93513970
fax. +61 2 93513329

Synthesis of highly enantio-enriched stereoisomers of hydroxy-GR24. Joanne C. Morris and Christopher S. P. McErlean. Org. Biomol. Chem., (2016)  14, 1236–1238.

Chemistry of the synthetic strigolactone mimic GR24. Liam J. Bromhead, Jason Smith, and Christopher S. P. McErlean, Aus. J. Chem., (2015)  68, 1221-1227. [Invited article for Athel Beckwith Lectureship]

Synthesis of carbazoloquinone natural products ‘on-water’. Philip Norcott, Christopher S. P. McErlean. Org. Biomol. Chem., (2015) 13 , 6866-6878.

Accessing brominated natural product motifs using phosphoramidite-catalysis. Carl Recsei and Christopher S. P. McErlean, Aus. J. Chem., (2015) 68 555–565. [Invited article for Cornforth Memorial Issue]

Total Synthesis of (−)-Heliespirone A and (+)-Heliespirone C. Philip Norcott, Christopher S. P. McErlean, Eur. J. Org. Chem., (2014) 5056–5062.

Synthesis of (+)-Luzofuran and (−)-Ancistrofuran. Carl Recsei, Bun Chan, and Christopher S. P. McErlean, J. Org. Chem., (2014) 79, 880–887.

Enantioselective synthesis of the strigolactone mimic (+)-GR24. Liam Bromhead, Johan Visser, Christopher S. P. McErlean, J. Org. Chem., (2014) 79, 1516–1520.