Organic Chemistry Coursework

Students in the Organic Chemistry Program are required to take these 12 credits of coursework. Most of the courses are team taught, but a primary contact person is shown.

Fall Semester, 1st Year

Chemical Structure and Reactivity

3 credits; Uttam Tambar, Ph.D.; Joseph Ready, Ph.D.; Daniel Siegwart, Ph.D.; Jacques Lux, Ph.D.

This course will provide a solid basis for understanding the physical properties and chemical reactivity of small molecules. The concepts conveyed will prepare students interested in small molecules for more advanced studies in organic synthesis.

Topics to be covered include:

  • The chemistry of the major functional groups commonly found in organic molecules
  • Fundamentals of chemical kinetics, including the rate law, transition state theory, etc.
  • The theory and practice of studying equilibrium interactions between molecules
  • Stereochemistry
  • Dynamic properties of molecules, for example, important C-C and C-heteroatom bond forming reactions

Additionally, the course offers advanced discussions of reaction mechanisms. We will focus on chemical catalysis, sigmatropic rearrangements, the conservation of orbital symmetry, and the concept of aromaticity.

Advanced Problems in Reaction Mechanisms I

1.5 credits;  Uttam Tambar, Ph.D.; Joseph Ready, Ph.D.; Daniel Siegwart, Ph.D.; Jacques Lux, Ph.D.

This course will focus on the study of reaction mechanisms and problem solving relevant to synthetic chemistry. It will serve as a problem session to support the didactic courses.

Chemical Synthesis 

1.5 credit; Myles Smith, Ph.D.

The course introduces the major classes of synthetic transformations with a heavy emphasis on methods and tactics. Control of reaction regio-, chemo-, and stereoselectivity in the assembly of carbon-carbon and carbon-heteroatom bonds will be discussed. Multiple tactics for acyclic diastereoselection are covered during discussions of several reactions, including olefin oxidation, carbonyl reduction, and aldol reactions. An introduction to olefin synthesis and metal-catalyzed cross-coupling concludes the course.

Proteins Thread of the DBS Core Course

2 credits

Instruction includes the energetic basis of protein structure; stability; ligand binding and regulation; enzyme mechanics and kinetics; methods of purification; and analysis by spectroscopic methods.

Professionalism, Responsible Conduct of Research, and Ethics I

1.0 credit hour
Topics covered through lectures and small group discussions: goals of education in RCR; professionalism; collaboration; team building and professional behaviors; everyday practice of ethical science; mentorship; data management and reproducibility; animal research; genetics; and human research.

Spring Semester, 1st Year

Advanced Synthesis and Catalysis

3 credits; Chuo Chen, Ph.D.Jef De Brabander, Ph.D.

This course, focusing on advanced methods for stereoselective and asymmetric synthesis, will be offered in the second semester to students who have successfully completed the first semester chemistry curriculum.

Particular emphasis will be placed on contemporary methods for molecular catalysis and new avenues in synthesis made available by them. Topics will include transition metal-catalyzed transformations, asymmetric catalysis, kinetic analysis of catalytic reactions, and organometallic reaction mechanisms.

Advanced Problems in Reaction Mechanisms II

1.5 credits; Chuo Chen, Ph.D.Jef De Brabander, Ph.D.

This course will focus on the study of reaction mechanisms and problem-solving relevant to synthetic chemistry. It will serve as a problem session to support the didactic courses.

Materials Chemistry - Chemical Synthesis, Formulation, and Characterization of Materials Applied for Biomedical Imaging and Therapy

1.5 credit; Jacques Lux, Ph.D. and Daniel Siegwart, Ph.D.

 This course will provide a solid basis for chemical synthesis, physical properties, and formulation of polymers and other synthetic materials for biomedical applications. The concepts conveyed will prepare students interested in drug and gene delivery, biomedical imaging, and clinical translation of synthetic materials.

Topics to be covered include:

  • Organic chemistry reactions for synthesis of polymers and materials, including reaction mechanisms, polymerization rates, and molecular structures and configuration of polymers
  • Physical methods to characterize materials
  • Fundamental concepts of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy
  • Formulation of materials, and methods to purify and characterize micro- and nanoparticles.
  • Synthetic materials for drug delivery and therapy, including design of stimuli-responsive materials
  • Synthetic materials and design of contrast agents for biomedical imaging
  • Clinical uses of synthetic materials

Enzymes and Disease

1.5 credit; Jennifer Kohler, Ph.D.

This course focuses on the roles of enzyme activity in human disease. Students will learn enzyme theory, quantitative methods to analyze enzyme activity, and mechanisms of enzyme inhibition. Students will study the effects of enzyme mutations on metabolism and how changes in enzyme activity cause or contribute to human diseases. Factors affecting the ability of small molecules to modulate enzyme activity in cells and living organisms will be discussed. Examples will be drawn from research programs on campus and from the recent literature in the field. Course grades will be determined based on class participation, journal article discussion and assignments, and performance on quizzes and/or exams.

Professionalism, Responsible Conduct of Research, and Ethics II

1.0 credit hour

Topics covered through lectures and small group discussions: codes of ethics and misconduct; building interprofessional teams; conflict of interest; sexual boundaries and professional behavior; applications of genetic testing; technology transfer and intellectual property; plagiarism, authorship, and citation; peer review; image and data manipulation.