Last month’s article focused on marinomycin, a cyclic polyketal with rather obvious symmetry – and the synthetic strategy hinged on that feature. However, symmetry in natural products isn’t always so apparent and it is uncovering such ‘hidden symmetry’ that forms the core of this month’s column.

Again, we’re plunging into the marine depths to find natural products with prodigious biological activity. The amphidinolide family comprises over 30 members, varying in architecture but (almost) all featuring a complex and highly decorated macrolactone ring at the core. Amphidinolide F was first isolated in 1991, but as yet remains unconquered territory in synthetic laboratories.1,2However, new ground has been broken by a pair of chemists from Oregon State University, US, led by Rich Carter.3 Their key insight was that hidden symmetry exists in the complex tetrahydrofuran (THF) regions. Although these two regions are not identical, the team considered that enough chemistry was in common that a mutual precursor might be used.

Read More…


I hope you can join us for the first Resident Scholar lecture of the 2012-13 academic year, which is scheduled for Wednesday, September 5th at 2:00 in the Willamette Room (3rd floor of the Library).  The Special Collections and Archives Research Center is proud to welcome our Resident Scholar, Dr. Pnina Abir-Am of Brandeis University.  Information on Dr. Abir-Am and her presentation follows below, and a promotional flyer is attached.

As is customary, refreshments will be served. We hope you can join us for what promises to be a very engaging talk.

Title: “Pauling’s Boys” and the DNA Structure Mystery

Abstract: The talk inquires into the possible role of Pauling’s close associates, widely known as ‘Pauling’s Boys’, in Pauling’s brief and puzzling engagement with DNA structure, 1951-1953. Based on archives opened since the 50th anniversary of this discovery, as well as recent SCARC acquisitions, most notably the Jack D. Dunitz Papers, the talk sheds new light on this still incomprehensible episode in the history of science. The talk is based on a chapter in a forthcoming book, DNA at 50: Memory, History, and Politics, which benefitted from NSF, NIH, and OSU Libraries sponsorship.

On the speaker:  Pnina G. Abir-Am has been a Resident Scholar at the Brandeis University Women’s Studies Research Center since 2007. Prior to that she held research and teaching positions at Johns Hopkins, UC-Berkeley, the University of Ottawa, and CNRS-Paris. She holds a Ph.D. from the French University of Montreal and an M.Sc. from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, both in the history of science.

Pnina has published widely on the history of molecular biology, public memory, women in science, and science policy.  For example, she was the first to establish the impact of the Rockefeller Foundation on the rise of molecular biology with several case studies from the 1930s, including Pauling’s. (Social Studies of Science, 1982 & 1984)  More recently, she has become interested in dramatizing the history of science and is currently looking for collaborators on a play focusing on Pauling’s involvement with protein and DNA structures, among other preoccupations, in the 1930s and 1950s.

The Faculty Recognition and Awards Committee is now accepting nominations for the inaugural Faculty Industry Partnering Award:

The Faculty Industry Partnering Award recognizes a faculty member who achieves extraordinarily high impact innovations through research collaborations with industry.


The selection criteria include:

  • exceptional engagement in collaborative research with industry
  • research leadership recognized nationally and internationally
  • high degree of student engagement in industry research efforts


Additional information, including nomination procedures, are available online at Nominations are due in the Faculty Senate Office on September 6.


This is a new award and the timeline is short to accommodate awarding of a recipient at the 2012 University Day. In subsequent years nominations for this award will be solicited earlier in the academic year.


NSF – Small Business Technology Transfer Program Phase I Solicitation FY-2013 (STTR)

NSF Letter of Intent Due Date: October 20, 2012 – November 20, 2012

The Small Business Technology Transfer program stimulates technological innovation in the private sector by strengthening the role of small business concerns in meeting Federal research and development needs, increasing the commercial application of federally supported research results, and fostering and encouraging participation by socially and economically disadvantaged and women-owned small businesses.

The STTR requires researchers at universities and other non-profit research institutions to play a significant intellectual role in the conduct of each STTR project. These researchers, by joining forces with a small company, can spin-off their commercially promising ideas while they remain primarily employed at the research institution.

Research Topic for this Solicitation:

NSF seeks to help reach the nation’s biological innovation goals, and the larger objective of growing the bioeconomy. The bioeconomy has emerged as a national priority because of its growth potential across many key industries and its societal benefits, which include transforming manufacturing processes, increasing agricultural productivity, advancing medicine, addressing energy needs, and meeting challenges in the environment. The STTR research topic for this solicitation is Enhancing the Bioeconomy using emerging Biological Technologies (EBBT). Proposals must use a biologically-based approach, such as synthetic biology, systems biology, metabolic engineering, proteomics, bioinformatics, and computational biology, to address business opportunities in key industry sectors including biomedical, biomanufacturing, and sustainable agriculture.

Limit on Number of Proposal per Organization: 2

WEBINAR: A webinar will be held within 6 weeks of the release date of this NSF solicitation to answer any questions about the solicitation. Details will be posted on the SBIR/STTR website: as they become available.


Thank you,



Debbie Delmore
Incentive Programs Manager
Research Office
Oregon State University

MAILING ADDRESS: A312 Kerr Administration Building
Corvallis, OR  97331-2140
Fax: 541-737-9041


The Department of Defense (DoD)

Fiscal Year 2013 Defense University Research Instrumentation Program (DURIP)


Full Proposal Deadline: September 28, 2012

DURIP is designed to improve the capabilities of U.S. institutions of higher education to conduct research and to educate scientists and engineers in areas important to national defense by providing funds for the acquisition of research equipment. This announcement seeks proposals to purchase instrumentation in support of research in areas of interest to the DoD, including areas of research supported by the administering agencies.

Through this DURIP competition, the DoD intends to award approximately $42 million for FY 2013, subject to the availability of funds. These funds will be awarded via grants made by the Army Research Office, Office of Naval Research, and Air Force Office of Scientific Research. Grants will be for the purchase of research equipment costing $50,000 or more, which typically cannot be purchased within the budgets of single-investigator awards. With few exceptions an individual award may not exceed $1,500,000 in DoD funding.

Sufficient funds are not available to meet all the instrumentation needs of universities. Awards, therefore, will be made to universities conducting, or being demonstrably capable of conducting research (with the proposed new equipment) in areas of interest to the DoD. DURIP awards are typically one year in length.

There are no limits to the number of applications an applicant may submit.

DoD DURIP information:;jsessionid=SMTnQh5FxT8FS8z22vmgCQdzMr6H7TGvmhT232x2FGtJ2Sx3sTPY!955625390?oppId=182673&mode=VIEW


Thank you,



Debbie Delmore
Incentive Programs Manager
Research Office
Oregon State University

MAILING ADDRESS: A312 Kerr Administration Building
Corvallis, OR  97331-2140
Fax: 541-737-9041

Fiscal Year 2013 Defense University Research Instrumentation Program (DURIP)


DALLAS — Dallas High School science teacher Lee Jones’ last experience with organic chemistry was in college. But this summer, he is conducting research that may speed the development of new prescription drugs.

Dallas High School science teacher Lee Jones adds more solvent to a filter medium while working on an organocatalyst July 23 at the Linus Pauling Science Center of Oregon State University in Corvallis.Photo by Pete Strong

Dallas High School science teacher Lee Jones adds more solvent to a filter medium while working on an organocatalyst July 23 at the Linus Pauling Science Center of Oregon State University in Corvallis.

Jolene Guzman

July 31, 2012

DALLAS — Dallas High School science teacher Lee Jones’ last experience with organic chemistry was in college. But this summer, he is conducting research that may speed the development of new prescription drugs.

Jones is part of the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust Partners in Science Program, which offers grants for high school science teachers to assist scientists on basic research over two summers.

He is working with Rich Carter, a professor and chairman of the Department of Chemistry at Oregon State University. Together, they are refining the process for developing a catalyst to create amino acids used in the production of pharmaceuticals.

Jones spent the first five weeks of his “summer vacation” refreshing his memory on organic chemistry before moving on to more advanced research.

“This past week is when we’ve been pioneering things that have never been done, which is kind of exciting,” Jones said in a recent interview.

The focus of Jones’ research is a compound called “Hua Cat I,” named after Hua Yang, the researcher who first developed it with Carter. “Cat” stands for catalyst. Hua Cat is an “organocatalyst,” meaning it’s a natural compound that can be used with organic solvents to create desired reactions, making it environmentally friendly.

The problem with Hua Cat, as it is called around the lab, is that it is incredibly time-consuming to create.

“They do a lot of research that ties into this catalyst,” Jones said. “My (task) is to find a better way to make it. It’s kind of a pain. It takes like two weeks.”

Jones is developing a three-step process to create the catalyst faster. Then, after completing that task, he is hoping to create a “flow reaction” system, with which the compound can be made continuously for experiments that need to be conducted over time.

“If we can get that working — that’s the goal of the summer,” he said. “So when someone needs the catalyst, they can just set up the flow apparatus.”

Jones and Carter are coordinating the process with Synthetech, an Albany-based firm that assists in the development of new drugs.

Jones is relishing the experience of working with organic chemistry again.

He’s spending nine to 10 hours per day in the recently opened, state-of-the-art Linus Pauling Science Center at OSU. He said working with Carter and Synthetech, he is gaining experience in the research and industrial sides of science. Those are lessons he will be able to use in classes this coming school year. Jones said he is using some of the same concepts in the lab that he will teach in class.

“That is a big portion of what we talk about in AP chemistry, solubility and molecular forces,” Jones said. “That is going to tie in great with that. It’s a real-world connection.”

While Jones is excited about entering uncharted territory with the research this summer, he said it’s not groundbreaking.

“They (Carter’s team) all use Hua Cat, but they don’t really have the time to spend a couple months to find a way to make it better,” Jones said. “It’s nothing super challenging. It’s not like I’m discovering something amazing.”

Carter said Jones might be downplaying his role.

He said Hua Cat is a chiral compound, the type used in the development of the majority of drugs.

“We think it will be really useful,” Carter said. “We think it will make it (Hua Cat) cheaper and more widely used. He is going to have a real meaningful impact.”

Carter said he’s impressed with Jones’ work and believes by the end of the summer, he will be making new discoveries on his own.

“He is full of energy,” Carter said. “If I could clone him, I would.”

Jones, who wanted to work in organic chemistry when he applied for the grant, said the hours are long, but he’s happy to spend the summer on the research.

“It’s neat … the possibility of getting that one flow set up this summer and having that be my contribution to the world of chemistry,” he said.


If your department will be searching for new faculty this coming year, I encourage you to attend the Academic Employment Initiative (AEI) poster session at the Fall ACS National Meeting in Philadelphia, PA.  This is an excellent opportunity for you to meet informally with some of the 72 academic job candidates who will be presenting posters Monday evening, August 20, 8-10 PM at the SciMix at the Pennsylvania Convention Center–Hall D.

A list of the job candidates, brief bios, and links to abstracts of their presentations can be accessed at There will also be a check-in table for faculty recruiters at the head of the poster session onsite.

If you would like more information about AEI or if a representative from your university will be attending, please contact Dr. Corrie Kuniyoshi (cc’d). For any other offerings from the ACS Graduate & Postdoctoral Scholars, please write to or visit

We look forward to seeing you and/or your colleagues at SciMix on Monday, August 20 in Philadelphia, PA.






Joe Z. Sostaric, Ph.D.

Program Manager

Graduate & Postdoctoral Scholars Office Education Division


American Chemical Society

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