A Message from the Chair

Dr. Lamont Terrell – Chair 2022
Inclusion and Diversity Lead, Pharma R&D
GlaxoSmithKline
Mail Stop UP1210
1250 S. Collegeville Road
Collegeville, PA 19426
Tel: 610-917-4979
Lamont.R.Terrell@gsk.com

Welcome to the ACS Division of Organic Chemistry (DOC) Website, and to the largest Community of Organic Chemists in the world! I hope that you will find useful information here about the ORGN Division, events, awards, and expanding website resources for current (and future) members.  I am pleased to welcome current and future members of the Division.

The mission of the Division of Organic Chemistry is to foster and promote the advancement of the field of organic chemistry. This can only be accomplished through creating a strong inclusive community. It is important for us as a Division to ensure those who practice organic chemistry is as diverse as the field of Chemistry itself. Although forced upon us due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the virtual world allowed the division to reach all corners of the earth and expand the reach of our organic community. Virtual meetings brought individuals from many different backgrounds together.  At the National meetings, the division held numerous networking sessions to engage and hear from individuals.  The DOC/MEDI Coffee Chat and the Inclusion & Diversity Networking Mixer to name a couple. We will continue to identify opportunities to promote inclusive community building and scientific knowledge sharing.

As we transition back to a world where we physically shake hands versus giving virtual thumbs up, we must continue to reach out and invite all who study organic chemistry into our treasured community. I challenge everyone at the next national and/or local meeting to meet and engage a fellow organic chemist outside of their network and get to know them. I learned so much about other cultures and beliefs in the virtual environment and look forward to the opportunity to walk the halls of an ACS poster session with the goal of meeting new people.

Resilience! It is something that we all needed in 2021 since the last two years have been a roller coaster of emotions and optimism. In 2021, the Division had the challenge of balancing our desire to meet in person versus ensuring meetings were safe with appropriate COVID measures. As noted above, by following the science, the division opted for virtual national meetings and continued to offer our virtual symposia and other online opportunities to distribute knowledge and maintain our community. As evident from the positive feedback, the virtual symposia were a profound success. The Division made the decision to incorporate virtual symposium in future programming post the pandemic. Be on the lookout for the quarterly DOC Virtual Symposia series. Past symposia videos available HERE!

In the second half of 2021, we were on the roller coaster high. The Graduate Research Symposium (GRS) not only returned but was a face-to-face meeting held at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico on November 18 – 21. This premier event provides an opportunity for 50 – 75 graduate students in organic chemistry to interact with leaders from academia, industry, various funding agencies, and publishers.

GRS 2021 Group Photo
2021 Graduate Research Symposium
at University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, NM
November 18-21, 2021

The 2022 GRS will be held at the University of California, Santa Barbara on July 9 – 12, 2022. Invited speakers from industry and academia, as well as workshops and additional opportunities for round-table discussions, are organized to inform students about opportunities available in organic chemistry and to gain important perspective on their post-graduate school careers.

What more will 2022 bring?

Well, it looks like another challenging year is ahead of us. As I write this message in early January, the Omicron variant keeps us on the roller coaster of pandemic optimism but hopefully, the ride ends soon. The Division has planned for a year of in-person meetings filled with scientific engagement, networking, poster sessions, and the opportunity to bump into old friends (something we can’t do virtually). Registration for the in-person & virtual Spring ACS meeting in San Diego, CA on March 20 – 24 is currently open.

The 4th annual Empowering Women in Organic Chemistry (EWOC) conference will be a hybrid meeting from Thursday, June 23 – Friday, June 24. The events on Thursday are virtual and the events on Friday will be held in-person in Boston, MA or virtually online.

The National Organic Symposium (NOS) will be held in-person from Sunday, June 26 – Thursday, June 30 at the University of California, San Diego in La Jolla, CA. You can find some of the latest information on the meeting on Twitter with #NOS2022.

An important mission of the DOC that continues is to recognize the accomplishments of organic chemists at all stages of their career, academics and industry. The nomination process starts with YOU!  Please nominate a colleague, peer or mentor for an award: visit the Awards & Fellowships menu on our website for more information on how to proceed. This list of awards includes the Organic Division Undergraduate Awards (UGA), the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) awards, special symposia for young investigators (academic and industry/government), the Technical Achievement Awards (TAOC), National ACS Awards, publication awards (OLJOC, & OM), and the two awards given by the DOC (the Leete and Gassman awards). Please consider applying for or nominating someone for one of these honors to help ensure that the diversity of talent in our community is fully recognized.

We as organic chemists should feel proud since a significant highlight in 2021 for the organic chemistry community was the awarding of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry to Benjamin List and David MacMillan “for the development of asymmetric organocatalysis”.  The award recognizes the power and importance of synthetic organic chemistry. Keeping with the roller coaster analogy, unfortunately, the organic chemistry community lost a Nobel Laureate, Bob Grubbs.  Bob was the winner of the Nobel Prize in 2005 for his contributions “for the development of the metathesis method in organic synthesis”.

As I end this message, I would like to thank the many volunteers over the past years who made the Division of Organic Chemistry (DOC) and its many initiatives a huge success. I would also like to thank the Executive Committee (EC) for all the work they do in their spare time to make the DOC run smoothly. I extend my immense gratitude to everyone who contributes to our community, organizing our events, reviewing awards, mentoring and networking! If you are interested in getting more involved and/or running in the fall election, please feel free to reach out to me directly (Lamont.r.terrell@gsk.com). 

In the meantime, please keep in touch! Besides this webpage, the DOC is on Twitter and Facebook and I invite you to follow us and connect with us there. Thank you for your interest in the Division and being part of the world’s largest community of organic chemists. Stay safe, well and COVID free in 2022.

Dr. Lamont Terrell
Chair, ACS Division of Organic Chemistry 2022

P.S. Not a member of the Division of Organic Chemistry? Please join us by signing up here. Not only will this give you access to the programming above and monthly newsletters, but it will also qualify you for discounts in NOS registration, access to fellowships and member-only video content (i.e. archived Virtual Symposia and NOS Videos). Membership costs $15/year ($5 for students) and identifies you as a part of the worldwide community of organic chemists. Note: Division Affiliate membership ($15) is available for people who are not ACS Members.