Dr Stephen Fletcher

Stipendiary Lecturer

Organic Chemistry


Steve was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.  He received a First Class undergraduate degree from Mount Allison University in 1999, and obtained his PhD at the University of Alberta in 2005.  In 2005 he was an NSERC of Canada postdoctoral fellow in Groningen, The Netherlands, and in 2007 worked as a research associate at the University of Manchester. He started at the University of Oxford in 2009 as an EPSRC Career Acceleration Fellow and has been teaching organic chemistry at Hertford since October 2010.



Undergraduate teaching 

Steve teaches 1st, 2nd and 3rd year organic chemistry at Hertford.

Postgraduate teaching 

Steve supervises several Masters and DPhil students in the field of organic chemistry.


Steve’s research focuses on the area of synthetic organic chemistry.  His group is developing new catalytic asymmetric methods for carbon-carbon bond formation.  The group also builds model systems to study important processes in chemistry and biology such as the conversion of light into mechanical energy (by building new ultrafast and efficient chromophores), the origins of life (by making self-reproducing systems) and the development of functional materials and molecular machines .


Journal Articles


  • Catalytic asymmetric carbon-carbon bond formation using alkenes as alkylmetal equivalents.  R. M. Maksymowicz, P. M. C. Roth and S. P. Fletcher. Nature Chem. DOI:10.1038/nchem.1394.
  • 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. 


  • Current methods for asymmetric halogenation of olefins.  A. Castellanos and S. P. Fletcher. Chem. – Eur. J. 2011, 17, 5766–5776.
  • Synthesis of enantiomerically enriched (R)-13C-labelled 2-aminoisobutyric acid (Aib) by conformational memory in the alkylation of a derivative of  L-alanine.  S. P. Fletcher, J. Solà, D. Holt, R. A. Brown and J. Clayden.  Beilstein J. Org. Chem. 2011, 7, 1304–1309.
  • Catalytic enantioselective synthesis of naturally occurring butenolides via hetero-allylic alkylation and ring closing metathesis. B. Mao, K. Geurts, M. F. Mastral, A. W. van Zijl, S. P. Fletcher, A. J. Minnaard and B. L. Feringa.  Org. Lett. 2011, 13, 948–951.   


  • Nanometre-range communication of stereochemical information by reversible switching of molecular helicity.  J. Solà, S. P. Fletcher, A. Castellanos and J. Clayden.  Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2010, 49, 6836–6839.
  • Hindered diarlyether and diarylsulfone bisphosphine ligands:  atropisomerism and metal complexes. J. Clayden, S. P. Fletcher, J. Senior and C. P. Worrall. Tetrahedron Asymmetry:  Special issue dedicated to Professor Henri B. Kagan on the occasion of his 80th birthday. 2010, 21, 1355–1360.


  • Growing the seeds of homochirality.  S. P. Fletcher. Nature Chem. 2009, 1, 692–693.
  • Conformational preferences of a polar biaryl:  A phase- and enantiomeric purity- dependent molecular hinge. J. Clayden, S. P. Fletcher, S. J. M. Rowbottom and M. Helliwell. Org. Lett. 2009, 11, 2313–1316.
  • Controlling axial conformation in 2-arylpyridines and 1-arylisoquinolines:  Application to the asymmetric synthesis of QUINAP by dynamic thermodynamic resolution. J. Clayden, S. P. Fletcher, J. J. W. McDouall and S. J. M. Rowbottom.  J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2009, 110, 5331–5343.


  • Copper catalyzed asymmetric allylic substitution reactions with organozinc and Grignard reagents. K. Geurts, S. P. Fletcher, A. W. van Zijl, A. J. Minaard and B. L. Feringa.  Pure Appl. Chem. 2008, 80, 1025–1037.


  • An astrophysically-relevant mechanism for amino acid enantiomer enrichment (Cover Article). S. P. Fletcher, R. B. C. Jagt and B. L. Feringa.  Chem. Commun. 2007, 2578–2580.


  • Cu–catalyzed asymmetric synthesis of chiral allylic esters. K. Geurts, S. P. Fletcher and B. L. Feringa. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2006, 128, 15572–15573.
  • Catalytic asymmetric synthesis of acyclic arrays by tandem 1,4–addition–aldol reactions. G. P. Howell, S. P. Fletcher, K. Geurts, B. ter Horst and B. L. Feringa.  J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2006, 128, 14977–14985.


  • A reversible, unidirectional molecular rotary motor driven by chemical energy. S. P. Fletcher, F. Dumur, M. M. Pollard and B. L. Feringa. Science, 2005, 310, 80–82.