PEAK Staff Profile

Jonathan R. Woodward, MA (Oxon) DPhil (Oxon)
Associate Professor – Environmental Sciences

Contact : woodward[at]


Jonathan R. Woodward Prof. Woodward began his academic career as an undergraduate student at the University of Oxford in the UK, where he stayed to study for his doctorate at the Physical and Theoretical Chemistry Laboratory. He first came to Japan as a Postdoctoral Research Associate working at RIKEN (The Institute of Physical and Chemical Research) and then returned to the UK where he took up a lectureship and later a senior lectureship at the University of Leicester. At Leicester he established a Spin Chemistry research group and helped develop a number of major Nationwide Education Programs. In 2007 he was awarded the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Higher Education Teaching Award. In 2008 he returned to Japan and worked at Tokyo Institute of Technology before joining the PEAK team at the University of Tokyo in 2011.

Research Interests

Prof. Woodward’s research centers on the unique properties of ‘Spin Correlated Radical Pairs (SCRPs).’ These remarkable entities are intermediates in a range of chemical and biological reactions and due to their very special quantum mechanical properties, show reactivity that can be influenced by even very weak magnetic fields. This makes them one of the only known candidates capable of acting as a chemical or biological sensor of magnetic fields. Indeed in recent years, SCRPs generated in proteins known as cryptochromes have been identified as the most likely source of animal magnetosensitivity in a wide range of different species.

Prof. Woodward’s group develops new experimental methodologies to look at the detailed properties and behaviour of radical pairs staring from basic physics and applying these ideas to molecular biology. These techniques include laser spectroscopy, magnetic resonance methods and spin state control through static, oscillating and pulsed magnetic fields. He is particularly interested in the potential harmful or helpful effects of magnetic fields on the human body with an aim to characterize the behaviour of SCRPs both in vitro and in vivo.

Selected Publications

A two-color tunable infrared/vacuum ultraviolet spectrometer for high-resolution spectroscopy of molecules in molecular beams’, Jonathan R. Woodward, Hirokazu Watanabe, Shun-ichi Ishiuchi and Masaaki Fujii; Rev Sci Instrum. 83(1), 014102 (2012).
‘Magnetic Field Effects on Radical Pairs in Homogeneous Solution’, Jonathan. R. Woodward. in ‘Carbon-Centered Radicals and Radical Ions’ Ed. M.D.E. Forbes, Wiley, New York. (2010).
‘Continuous Wave Photolysis Magnetic Field Effect Investigations with Free and Protein-Bound Alkylcobalamins’, Alex R. Jones, Jonathan R. Woodward, and Nigel S. Scrutton; J. Am. Chem. Soc., 131, 17246-17253 (2009).
‘Evidence for a novel bisacylphosphine oxide photoreaction from TRIR, TREPR and DFT studies’, Raminder Shergill, Michael Haberler, Claire B. Vink, Hollie V. Patten, and Jonathan R. Woodward; Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 11, 7248-7256 (2009).
‘Direct observation of f-pair magnetic field effects and time-dependence of radical pair composition using rapidly switched magnetic fields and time-resolved infrared methods’, Jonathan R. Woodward, Timothy J. Foster, Adrian T. Salaoru, and Claire B. Vink; Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 10, 4020-4026 (2008).