Organic and bioorganic chemistry at OSU is a vibrant and exciting program. We offer a flexible Ph.D. curriculum in which the coursework and research projects are tailored to the student's interests. In addition, many of the research groups have joint projects and combined meetings that foster additional interactions and interdisciplinary training. We have state-of-the-art research facilities with outstanding NMR instrumentation (300 MHz, 400 MHz, 500 MHz and 700 MHz), an in-house X-ray facility staffed by a full-time Ph.D. crystallographer and a world-class in-house low / high resolution mass spectrometry service. In addition, the chemistry department supports an electrician and machine shop to assist with research activities.

Our faculty have wide-ranging interests including the discovery and total synthesis of biologically active natural products, study of new asymmetric methods in organic synthesis, computational studies of organic reaction mechanisms & selectivities, evaluation of drug leads, the probing of the biosynthetic and metabolic pathways and organotransition metal chemistry for the development of new catalytic transformations. Short descriptions of each faculty member's research interests are listed below.

Regular Faculty

Chris Beaudry - new strategies for the efficient synthesis of complex natural products.

Paul Blakemore - the development of new methods and concepts for the absolute control of molecular constitution and stereochemistry.

Rich Carter - the construction of complex natural products possessing unique structural motifs and wide-ranging biological activity.

Paul Cheong - computational study of mechanisms, selectivities, and reactivities of bio, organic, and transition metal catalysts and reactions.

Kevin Gable - the study of organotransition metal chemistry in a manner that will lead to new catalytic transformations of organic molecules.


Adjunct/Affiliate Faculty

Kerry McPhail – Natural Products isolation

Taifo Mahmud - Medicinal Chemistry

Ryan Mehl - Synthetic Chemical Biology


Ph.D. Program Guidelines

The graduate program at OSU is geared to provide the student with a solid foundation in organic and bioorganic chemistry. The student and his or her advisor work together to select the courses best suited to the student's interests and research project. In addition, the student's doctoral committee (consisting of 4-5 faculty members) closely follows the student progress through yearly informal meetings. A general outline of the 1st year of a student's program is provided below. The vast majority of the student's requirements are completed during their 1st year, thereby allowing them to focus the remainder of their time on research.


First Year

Fall Term
CH 630-Advanced Organic Chemistry
CH 535
-Spectroscopy Methods
Elective Course
(Usually BB 590 - Biochemistry or CH 511 - Inorganic)
CH 607
Winter Term
CH 631
-Advanced Organic Chemistry
CH 607
- Safety
Spring Term
CH 632
-Advanced Organic Chemistry  
Significant laboratory research is expected beginning in this quarter.

Additionally, students are expected to complete the on-line Responsible Conduct of Research course by the end of their 1st year. A student will also typically take 2-3 special topics courses (CH 636, 637, and 638) during their 2nd year. (On occasion, you may be able to take some special topics courses in your 1st year as prerequisites and scheduling allow.) These courses, along with other elective course(s), allow the student to tailor his or her education to meet specific interests and support the research project. Please note that a grade of B- or lower is considered unsatisfactory in a course and will not be counted towards the program of study.

In addition, all students in good standing are required to present a literature seminar (CH 633) by the end of their third academic year in the program.   These presentations are done in a supportive environment that allows the student to hone their public speaking skills. Organic and bioorganic graduate students are expected to attend these seminars to support their fellow students and to learn about new research areas. 

Doctoral students are expected to take and pass cumulative exams which consist of questions selected by the faculty from the current literature. The student must obtain 4 points (out of 16 possible) by the end of their second year. In addition, the student must obtain an additional 6 points on the cumulative exams in order to proceed to candidacy.  All students in good standing are then expected to complete their oral preliminary exam within twelve months of satisfying their cumulative exam requirement of 10 points.  Students may request from their dissertation committee a one-time extension to their oral preliminary exam.  Extension of the deadline for completing the oral preliminary exam is solely the discretion of the dissertation committee. Failure to complete their oral preliminary by the stated timeline may led to termination from the program or conversion to a Masters (M.S.) degree track in the program. 


Seminar Program

We maintain an active seminar program with both academic and industrial speakers from across the country and around the world. These seminars are typically given on Thursday afternoons at 4.15 pm.  The students actively participate in the seminar program through individual meetings with the speakers. In addition, the students also have more informal interactions including lunch with the visiting scientists. In fact, many of the lunches have ultimately translated into postdoctoral positions and job opportunities. 

Each spring, a leader in the field of organic chemistry is invited to present the James D. White Honorary Lecture.  This award was started in 2011 to honor the distinguished Professor Emeritus Jim White.  Professor White has made sizable contributions to organic chemistry research for over four decades at Oregon State University and he has been honored with the Centenary Medal (1999), Cope Scholar Award (2003), and MDF Discovery Award (2004).


Alumni Success

The organic and bioorganic division has a strong track record for the placement of their graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in industrial and postdoctoral positions. Faculty member weblinks are provided below for additional information.

Chris Beaudry (Website) • Paul Blakemore (Website) • Rich Carter (Website) (Linked In) • Paul Cheong (Website) (Linked In)  • Kevin Gable (Website) (Linked In)