Catherine J. Murphy, b. 1964, is an American chemist and materials scientist.
Murphy graduated magna cum laude with two bachelor's degrees, one in chemistry and the other in biochemistry, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1986. She earned her doctorate degree from the University of Wisconsin–Madison under the direction of A. B. Ellis in 1990. She was a postdoctoral fellow with Jacqueline Barton at the California Institute of Technology from 1990 to 1993. She joined the faculty of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of South Carolina from 1993 to 2009, becoming the Guy F. Lipscomb Chair of Chemistry. Her research centered on inorganic nanomaterials and the biophysical properties of DNA. In 2009, she joined the faculty in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as the Peter C. and Gretchen Miller Markunas Professor of Chemistry.
Murphy is known for her work on the seed-mediated synthesis of gold nanorods of controlled aspect ratio. Her laboratory has developed the surface chemistry, biological applications, and environmental implications of these nanomaterials.
From 2006 to 2010, Murphy was a Senior Editor for the Journal of Physical Chemistry. She became the Deputy Editor of the Journal of Physical Chemistry C in 2011.
Since 2006, Murphy has been a coauthor of the general chemistry textbook, "Chemistry: The Central Science".
In 2008, Murphy was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
In 2011, Murphy won the Inorganic Nanoscience Award given by the Division of Inorganic Chemistry of the American Chemical Society, and was elected a Fellow of the American Chemical Society.
In 2011, Thomson Reuters ranked Murphy as number 10 in their Top 100 Materials Scientists of 2000-2010 and as number 32 in their Top 100 Chemists of 2000-2010.
In 2015, she was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.