Brian C. Goess

Brian Goess

Professor, Chemistry

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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. ​​​


  • Ph.D., Harvard University
  • B.S., University of Notre Dame

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.

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.