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Organic chemistry

Our goal is to combine knowledge in synthetic organic chemistry  natural product chemistry, structure elucidation and molecular biology / biochemistry for design and synthesis of potential drugs and biomolecular tools.

About the section

The knowledge of the complete human genome allows systematic exploration of the molecular basis of diseases and subsequently rational development of effective therapies for i.e. cancer, diabetes, infectious diseases and mental illnesses.

Small molecules

The central dogma in biology states that information flows from DNA to RNA and then to proteins, but the fourth part of the dogma is often forgotten in this discussion; small molecules or secondary metabolites. The human metabolome (such as metabolic intermediates, hormones and other signaling molecules, and secondary metabolites) are in general relatively small molecules. For this reason as well as bioavailability issues, most chemical compounds with drug potential are relatively small (Mw < ca 500). Hence, synthetic organic chemistry and / or natural product isolation are essential areas in almost all drug-developing projects.

Furthermore, small molecule compounds (SMC) are extremely important tools in chemical biology for the elucidation of molecular pathways fundamental to cell and disease biology.

Our disciplines

Successful research in the areas of drug development and chemical biology requires scientists with expertise in a wide variety of disciplines:

  • Synthetic organic chemistry for production of the SMC (ligand, potential drug)
  • Structural chemistry (NMR etc.) for elucidation of structure of both the ligand and the target biomolecule, as well as studies of the ligand-target interaction
  • Biochemistry/molecular biology for production of target biomolecules and finally assays for identification of the bioactive profile of the low molecular ligand

Hence, the goal of the organic chemistry group is to combine knowledge in synthetic organic chemistry / natural product chemistry, structure elucidation and (together with our collaborators) molecular biology / biochemistry for design and synthesis of potential drugs and biomolecular tools. Sub-goals are among other things: Drug design, methodology delvelopment in organic synthesis, molecular modeling, structure elucidation, metabolomics studies etc.

The group was together with the reseach group in biological chemistry appointed a emerging top-tier research group by the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences in 2007.

Permanent scientific staff

Professor Tore Benneche

Professor Lise-Lotte Gundersen

Associate professor Tore Bonge-Hansen

Professor Frode Rise

Associate professor Alexander Sandtorv

Associate professor Patrick Riss


The organic chemistry section is involved in teaching of the following courses.


We offer undergraduate research projects KJM2010 - Undergraduate Research I and KJM2020 - Undergraduate Research II for more information contact the individual supervisors. We also welcome exchange students  for project work on undergraduate and graduate level.

Research infrastructure.

The University of Oslo NMR Center og The Mass Spectrometry Laboratory.



Published Sep. 24, 2012 11:05 AM - Last modified Aug. 16, 2021 2:03 PM