Industry Supports Organic Chemistry Competition

COLUMBUS, Ga. -- Columbus State University and Cott Corp. are collaborating to showcase organic chemistry research projects by CSU students in a poster presentation and competition from 8-8:50 a.m. Friday, Nov. 16 in the Cunningham Center’s Blanchard Banquet Hall. The event is open to the public.

Sixty-two juniors and seniors grouped in 11 separate teams will present projects on topics such as “Athletes and Steroids,” “Skunk Defensive Secretions” and “Manufacturers of Sweeteners ‘Duke it Out’ in the Courtroom.”

Using poster boards, team representatives will describe their investigations and findings conducted through organic chemistry and spectroscopy courses in CSU’s College of Science.

Personnel from Cott's research and technology center in Columbus will participate as judges, along with CSU professors and other, non-participating students. “This type of activity reinforces for students how chemistry courses are relevant in their lives — beyond fulfilling course requirements,' said CSU organic chemistry professor Joseph Rugutt. 'The event also is an excellent example of local industry supporting higher education.'

Cott, one of the world's largest non-alcoholic beverage companies, is sponsoring the event, which includes a 7 a.m. breakfast for the participants.

The event serves as an effective teaching tool in science courses and classes of all sizes, said Rugutt, who is coordinating the competition. “The poster session develops valuable skill sets that employers seek in graduates. These skills include thinking outside the box, collaborative learning, research and communication skills, strong research ethic and cultural competency.”

Rugutt said poster sessions also provide valuable career preparation experience to students, as they present information in a format common in the professional world. Also,future chemistry majors will familiarize themselves with chemistry-related job markets that are gathering strength, especially in the food and pharmaceutical industries.

Other research topics to be featured in the poster competition are:
• Green organic chemistry
• Unnatural bioactive alkaloids from periwinkle
• Professor Corey, the father of organic synthesis
• Microwave-assisted organic chemical reactions
• Fraud and ethics in research
• History, chemistry and biological action of morphine
• Enantiomeric sex pheromone of hibiscus mealybug
• An elegant synthesis of azadirachtin, a potent insect antifeedant
• Novel antimalarial drugs
• Biologically active “cousins” of tetracycline

For more information about the poster competition, contact Joseph Rugutt by phone, 706-565-3681; e-mail,; Web: