Brian C. Goess Faculty and Staff Chemistry Furman University

How do we synthesize sufficient quantities of medicinally valuable complex natural products from the relatively simple molecules that nature provides us in great abundance? Can we chemically alter the structures of these natural products to make medicines that are even more potent than those provided by nature? If a new chemical reaction would make the synthesis of these valuable molecules much simpler, do we have the expertise and ingenuity to discover and then develop such a reaction? These are the questions that the Goess Lab tackles in the area of synthetic organic chemistry research.

After receiving his Bachelor of Science in chemistry from University of Notre Dame in 1998, Brian Goess earned a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Harvard University in 2004. After a post-doctoral appointment at Princeton University, he joined the faculty at Furman in 2006 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2012. At Furman, Dr. Goess has mentored over fifty undergraduate chemistry researchers, published eleven peer-reviewed papers with eighteen undergraduate co-authors.

Dr. Goess has been awarded research grants from the National Science Foundation, American Chemical Society, Research Corporation, and Dreyfus Foundation. He has also earned two South Carolina Innovision awards for development of educational technologies, serves on the executive board of the Beckman Foundation, and is currently a Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar. ​​​

View Curriculum Vitae

Name Title Description


Seminar in Chemistry

Seminars presented based on current literature. Presentations include articles detailing the application of chemical principles and techniques to the natural environment. Surveys of assigned journals are presented individually; more detailed presentations are made by small groups working as teams. Topics include: coverage of recent important developments, global awareness of the application of chemistry to the natural world, experience in making scientific presentations, and encouragement of good literature reading habits.


Chemistry & Global Awareness

Introduction to the scientific method, how chemists approach the study of nature, interrelationships between theory and experiment, and the nature of scientific information. These concepts are discussed in the context of modern environmental concerns such as energy utilization, global warming, and water/air pollution. Designed specifically for non-science majors. Credit for CHM-101 cannot be granted after completion of any course in the chemistry major sequence.


Organic Chemistry

Emphasis on the application of chemical principles to carbon compounds. Physical and chemical properties of the major organic functional groups, an introduction to stereochemistry, molecular stability, and related concepts of organic compounds are covered. Laboratory emphasizes reaction set-ups, recrystallization, distillation, extraction, and chromatography.


Bio-Organic Chemistry

Introduction to the organic chemistry of living systems. Topics include: the structure and chemistry of proteins, mechanistic enzymology, the organic chemistry of cofactors, DNA-drug interactions, and the biosynthesis of natural products.


Experimental Techniques

Laboratory exercises involving multi-step synthesis, purification, and analysis of both organic and inorganic compounds. Use of modern chemical instrumentation, utilization of the chemical literature, and the oral and written presentation of experimental data are requirements.


Technical Writing in Chemistry

An introduction to the fundamental aspects of scientific writing. Additional topics include literature resources, data presentation, and individualized instruction on project specific written presentations.


Adv Tpcs in Organic Chemistry

Investigation of the relationship between structure and reactivity in organic chemistry. Advanced topics include: structural types, bonding theories, reaction types, energetics, and synthetic methods as applied to organic molecules and materials.


Topics in Chemistry

Topics important in various fields of modern chemistry designed as a tutorial to meet the special needs of individual students.


Graduate Seminar in Chemistry

Students present seminars based on current literature. Surveys of assigned journals are presented individually; more detailed presentations are made by small groups.



Original laboratory research



Master's thesis


Engage the News

Students will read a national newspaper on a daily basis and be prepared to discuss and write about the content and its implications. Students will demonstrate comprehension of what they have read through periodic assessments, participate dynamically in class discussion and complete writing assignments that vary in topic, objective and audience.

Research in the Goess lab involves the total synthesis of medicinally valuable natural products, discovery of new organic reactions to simplify these synthesis, and development of related technologies to enhance undergraduate education in organic chemistry.

Currently, we are developing new synthesis routes to members of the furanosteroid family of natural products, which have been shown to possess significant chemotherapeutic properties. To aid these syntheses, we are inventing new chemical reactions that convert common carbon-hydrogen bonds into much more reactive carbon-oxygen bonds. And, when possible, we are adapting these new chemical transformations for use in undergraduate teaching labs.

Goess research, figure 1

Dr. Goess is always looking for undergraduate collaborators who want to learn how to synthesize new pharmaceuticals and discover new chemical reactions. To learn more, take a class from Dr. Goess, stop by the lab, or send an email.

  • Roth, P. W.; Armaly, A. M.; McCraw, I.; Tryon, J. H.; Rudd, H. M.; Goess, B. C. Total synthesis of (±)-hibiscone B and (±)-acyl hibiscone B. Tetrahedron Letters 2018, 59, 3586–3588.
  • Goess, B. C.; Tartaro, A. Flipped Textbooks: Student-Created Online Wiki Textbooks for Intermediate and Advanced Chemistry Classes. In Online Approaches to Chemical Education; Sörensen, Pia M. Canelas, Dorian A., Ed.; ACS Symposium Series 1261; American Chemical Society: Washington, DC, 2017; pp 131-142.
  • Wang, M. H.; Barsoum, D.; Schwamb, B.; Cohen, D. T.; Goess, B. C.; Riedrich, M.; Chen, A.; Maki, B. E.; Mishra, R. K.; Scheidt, K. A. Catalytic, Enantioselective Beta-Protonation through a Cooperative Activation Strategy. J. Org. Chem., 2017, 82, 4689–4702.
  • Besley, C.; Rhinehart, D. P.; Ammons, T.; Goess, B. C.; Rawlings, J. S. Inhibition of Phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase by the Furanosteroid Hibiscone C. Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett., 2017, 27, 3087–3091.
  • Tartaro, A.; Goess, B. C.; Miller, J.; Bui, J. Learning Outcomes From a Student-generated ‘Flipped’ Wiki Textbook . Proc. ACM SIGCHI Conf. Supp. Group Work , 2016, 449–452.
  • Tartaro, A.; Goess, B. C.; Winiski, M. Creative Language in a Student-generated Bioorganic Chemistry Wiki Textbook. Creativity and Cognition, 2015, 221–224.
  • Goess, B. C. Development and Implementation of a Two-Semester Introductory Organic-Bioorganic Chemistry Sequence: Conclusions from the First Six Years. J. Chem. Educ., 2014, 91, 1169–1173.
  • Lu, L.; Hannoush, R. N.; Goess, B. C.; Varadarajan, S.; Shair, M.D.; Kirchhausen, T. The Small Molecule Dispergo Tubulates the Endoplasmic Reticulum and Inhibits Export. Mole. Biol. Cell. 2013, 24, 1020–1029.
  • Duff, D. B.; Abbe, T. G.; Goess, B. C. A Multistep Synthesis Featuring Classic Carbonyl Chemistry for the Advanced Organic Chemistry Laboratory. J. Chem. Educ. 2012, 89, 406-408.
  • Graham, T. J. A.; Poole, T. H.; Reese, C. N.; Goess, B. C. Regioselective semihydrogenation of dienes. J. Org. Chem. 2011, 76, 4132-8.
  • Gray, E. E.; Rabenold, L. E.; Goess, B. C. E-selective isomerization of stilbenes and stilbenoids through reversible hydroboration. Tetrahedron Lett. 2011, 52, 6177-6179.
  • Ungureanu, S.; Meadows, M.; Smith, J.; Duff, D. B.; Burgess, J. M.; Goess, B. C. Total Synthesis of (±)-Hibiscone C. Tetrahedron Lett. 2011, 52, 1509-1511.
  • Graham, T. J. A.; Gray, E. E.; Burgess, J. M.; Goess, B. C. An efficient synthesis of (±)-grandisol featuring 1,5-enyne metathesis. J. Org. Chem. 2010, 75, 226-8.
Ph.D., Harvard University
B.S., University of Notre Dame

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