Skip to main content
Skip to main menu Skip to spotlight region Skip to secondary region Skip to UGA region Skip to Tertiary region Skip to Quaternary region Skip to unit footer


Richard Morrison

Blurred image of a green laser used as background for stylistic purposes.
Distinguished Professor
  • BS Biology and Chemistry University of Utah
  • Ph.D. Organic Chemistry University of Utah
  • Post Doc University of Texas at Austin
  • Research Associate University of Colorado Boulder
Research Interests:

We are currently engaged in the development of organic methodologies toward the synthesis of active pharmaceutical ingredients. Our recently patented methodology for the decarboxylation of natural and synthetic amino acids utilizes microwave promotion to yield bioactive amines. This work is supported by Innovation Gateway at UGA and the Georgia Research Alliance.

                                RWM Figure 1                                             

Our natural product synthetic efforts focus on the total synthesis of Calopins. Calopins are a new class of mushroom metabolites, which are in part responsible for the bitter taste of Caloboletus radicans, a type of mushroom.  All calopins have a delta-lactone ring with three contiguous stereogenic centers (A).  Their structures vary slightly by the moieties attached to rings B and C.        

                                                                          Image removed.                                                                                                                                                           Calopin

Calopins exhibit anti-staphylococcal activity in the treatment of antibiotic-resistant MRSA infections.

Our organic chemistry-based engineering research targets the development of  metal organic frameworks(MOFs) for use as molecular switches.  Cargo is sequestered in the MOF by a gate and released at a specific location and within a specific time window using 365 nm light. 

                                          Image removed.      

Pedagogical research in our group involves the use of eye-tracking to study how chemistry problems are analyzed and structures are elucidated.  The location and frequency of fixation points as tracked by a headset or eye-tracking monitor provides data that are being sorted using machine learning and artificial intelligence to detect patterns of analysis.

                        Image removed.                                                                                

The production of new multi-outcome experiments (MOEs) for the undergraduate laboratory curriculum is another challenging area of effort in the Morrison group.  Experiments that require students to develop logical and analytical skills are essential to the undergraduate laboratory.  This is accomplished by introducing “unknown” reagents or substrates into the experiment.  The introduction of “unknowns” allows students to perform standard procedures while obtaining unique results.  Importantly, these experiments must be 1) economical; 2) safe; 3) reproducible; and 4) able to be performed in a standard 3-hour laboratory period.  A MOE variation of the Williamson Ethers Synthesis laboratory experiment is shown.

Reaction Scheme:

                   RWM Figure 8

Unknown Alkyl Halides:

                   RWM Figure 9

Selected Publications:


Morrison, R., & Caughran, J. (2015). Returning Written Assignments Electronically: Adapting Off-the-Shelf Technology To Preserve Privacy and Exam Integrity. J. Chem. Educ, 1254-1255.

Morrison, R., & Jackson, D. M. (2015). Rapid Conventional and Microwave-Assisted Decarboxylation of L-Histidine and Other Amino Acids via Organocatalysis with R-Carvone under Superheated Conditions. Synthetic Communications.


Morrison, R. W., Caughran, J. A., & Sauers, A. L. (2014). Classroom Response Systems for Implementing Interactive Inquiry in Large Organic Chemistry Classes. Unknown Journal, 91, 1838-1844. doi:10.1021/ed300688d


Morrison, R. (2012). CHEM 2212L Organic Chemistry II Laboratory Manual. Hayden McNeil Publishing.Morrison, R. (2009). Interactive Inquiry in Large Lectures Using Classroom Response Systems. In STEM Institute. Columbus State University: STEM.


Morrison, R. W. PowerPoint Lecture Outline to Accompany Organic Chemistry with Biological Applications 2011.

Morrison, R. (2011). CHEM 2211L Organic Chemistry I Laboratory Manual. Hayden McNeil Publishing.

Morrison, R. (2011). Art in the Unseen World. In Cortona Research Presentation. Cortona, Italy: UGA Cortona.


Morrison, R. (2009). Interactive Inquiry in Large Lectures Using Classroom Response Systems. In MAALACT Annual Meeting. Washington College: MAALACT.

Morrison, R. (2009). The Chemistry of Paper. In UGA Studies Abroad - Cortona, Italy. Cortona, Italy: UGA.


Morrison, R. W. ; Atwood, C. H. ; Caughran, J. A. Survival Guide for General, Organic, and Biochemistry with Math Review; 1st ed.; Thomson Brooks/Cole: San Francisco, 2008; p. 176.

Morrison, R., & Sauers, A. (2008). In-Lecture Guided Inquiry for Large Organic Chemistry Classes. In Bienniel Conference on Chemical Education. Bloomington, IN.

Morrison, R. (2008). Survival Guide for General, Organic and Biochemistry. Cengage Publishing.


Nine, R. D. ; Clark, N. N. ; Mace, B. E. ; Morrison, R. W. ; Lowe, P. C. ; Remcho, V. T. ; McLaughlin, L. W. Use of soy-derived fuel for environmental impact reduction in marine engine applications. Transactions of the ASAE 2000, 43, 1383 - 1391.


Mace, B. E. ; Nine, R. D. ; Clark, N. N. ; Vanyo, T. J. ; Remcho, V. T. ; Morrison, R. W. ; Mclaughlin, L. W. Emissions from marine engines with water contact in the exhaust stream. Society of Automotive Engineers, [Special Publication] SP 1998, SP-1335, 277 - 286.

Articles Featuring Richard Morrison

Dr. Richard Morrison, associate professor of Chemistry, has been named a Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor, the university’s highest recognition for excellence in instruction.

My Graduate Students

Sayani Roy Chowdhury

Graduate Student

Support Us

We appreciate your financial support. Your gift is important to us and helps support critical opportunities for students and faculty alike, including lectures, travel support, and any number of educational events that augment the classroom experience. Click here to learn more about giving.

Every dollar given has a direct impact upon our students and faculty.

Got More Questions?

Undergraduate inquiries: 

Registration and credit

AP Credit, Section Changes, Overrides,

Graduate inquiries:

Contact Us!

Assistant to the Department Head: Donna Spotts, 706-542-1919 

Main office phone: 706-542-1919 

Main Email:

Head of Chemistry: Prof. Jason Locklin