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Journal of Chemical Education


A semester-long research project for second-semester organic chemistry lab sections was developed. Student projects were based on preliminary data from faculty research that suggested the natural product neurolenin B to be a treatment for lymphatic filariasis. Students isolated neurolenins from the Central American plant Neurolaena lobata and proposed syntheses of previously unknown analogues using reactions learned in first- and second-semester organic chemistry. Using literature-based procedures, students ran reactions on neurolenins and analyzed their results by TLC and NMR spectroscopy. The semester culminated with a public poster session and final report using the Organic Letters template. Students in a total of 5 lab sections over 3 different semesters of the class completed this pilot course, and 15 sections in the same time span conducted traditional lab experiments. Qualitative and quantitative assessment data were collected to demonstrate the efficacy of the course. Students did not self-select into the pilot sections, were demographically similar to those in the traditional lab sections, and performed at the same level in the lecture portion of the course. Survey results from all students (traditional and pilot) were compared, and the students in the pilot sections showed higher levels of self-reported topic understanding, general motivation, and interest in organic chemistry.


Second-Year Undergraduate, Organic Chemistry, Inquiry-Based/Discovery Learning, Testing/Assessment, Natural Products, Student-Centered Learning, Undergraduate Research





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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Licensed to Smith College and distributed CC-BY under the Smith College Faculty Open Access Policy.


Peer reviewed accepted manuscript.



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