Murphy, Jennifer

Jennifer Murphy, Ph.D.


4321 CNSI (Office)
4310 CNSI (Lab)

Positions & Affiliations:

Associate Professor, Molecular and Medical Pharmacology, Crump Institute for Molecular Imaging
Member, Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center
Member, PBM Interdepartmental Graduate Program
Mentor, Chemistry-Biology Interface Research Training Program

Research Description:

Our laboratory is dedicated to addressing current limitations in radiochemistry, to develop routine, robust 18F-fluorination approaches that, when successful, will find broad clinical utility. Our research has led to the development of practical chemical methods for site-specific 18F labeling of targeted molecules, to expand the accessible radiochemical space for pre-clinical and clinical Positron Emission Tomography (PET) molecular imaging research. Specifically, we have developed a novel, metal-free chemical method to afford 18F-labeled arenes, key structures present in numerous small molecule PET probes and we’ve reported two novel approaches for highly efficient 18F-labeling of peptides and proteins (including antibodies, antibody fragments, and antibody mimetics) under mild reaction conditions. An additional focus of my research involves medicinal chemistry and preclinical drug development. With several collaborators at UCLA, we have developed potent, novel small molecules for multiple applications, including a potential therapeutic for tau-induced neurodegeneration. The overall goal is to facilitate access to promising PET imaging probes to examine disease biology, to enhance molecular diagnostic tools and to advance therapeutic developments.


Professor Murphy received her B.S. degree in chemistry (cum laude) from Santa Clara University in Northern California. She obtained her Ph.D. in 2011 from UCLA where she worked under the direction of Michael E. Jung on natural product total synthesis. She transitioned to the David Geffen School of Medicine where she was a Scholar in Oncologic Molecular Imaging (SOMI) postdoctoral fellow in the Ahmanson Translational Imaging Division at UCLA. In 2012, Prof. Murphy joined Tobias Ritter’s research laboratory at Harvard University as a visiting scholar. In 2013, she joined the UCLA faculty at the Crump Institute for Molecular Imaging as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology. Prof. Murphy is on the Journal of Nuclear Medicine editorial board and is a member of the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center at UCLA. She was elected to the Board of Directors for the International Society of Radiopharmaceutical Sciences (ISRS) and is a Scientific Advisory Board Member for the Carbon and Fluorine Radio Chemistry (CAFACHEM) Program. In 2019, Prof. Murphy was honored with the “Ones to Watch: Early Career Professionals Making a Difference” award by the Society of Nuclear Medicine & Molecular Imaging (SNMMI).