By 2050, world food production must support an estimated 9 billion people — all while using the same amount of land and conserving water. This imminent global challenge is top of mind every day for Beth Lorsbach, Ph.D., process chemistry leader for Dow AgroSciences.
Lorsbach, an expert in synthetic organic chemistry, says that creating novel solutions to real-world agriculture challenges is a stimulating job that never gets old. Throughout her career, she’s helped advance new compounds that help with crop protection, with a focus on fungicides.
In particular, she and her team have made great strides recently in the quest for new fungicides to control Septoria tritici, a devastating wheat pathogen that’s of great concern to the cereal market. Lorsbach has helped to advance a novel area of chemistry, aminopyrimidines, which is highly active against this commercially important disease.
“But what I’m most passionate about is certainly the people,” says Lorsbach, who takes her job as a mentor just as seriously as her job as a scientist. “We deal with really tough problems that not anyone can solve. You need to have a collaborative environment so you can bounce ideas off of each other—that’s the secret sauce. With the right people, the sky is really the limit.”
Lorsbach is among 10 scientists nationally to be recognized in 2015 by the American Chemical Society with a Women Chemists Committee (WCC) Rising Star Award. The award recognizes outstanding women scientists approaching mid-level careers who have demonstrated outstanding contributions to their respective fields.
(Read more about the recognition.)
“At the end of the day, you have to love what you do,” says Lorsbach, who received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Boston University and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of California, Davis. “You must be passionate about it.”
Luckily for Dow AgroSciences—which add hundreds of talented scientists to its ranks every year—Lorsbach’s passion for her work is contagious.
Klittich, Carla J. R.; Lorsbach, Beth; Meitl, Alice; Owen, W. John; Yao, Chenglin. Synergistic fungicidal compositions containing a 5-fluoropyrimidine derivative for fungal control in cereals. (June 25, 2013), US 8,470,840 B2.
Lorsbach, Beth Anne; Ruiz, James Melvin; Sparks, Thomas Clarence; Sullenberger, Michael Thomas; Morrison, Irene Mae; Webster, Jeffery Dale. N-substituted piperazines. U.S. Pat. Appl. Publ. (December 25, 2012), US 6,338,430 B2.
Lorsbach, Beth Anne; Ruiz, James Melvin; Sparks, Thomas Clarence; Sullenberger, Michael Thomas; Morrison, Irene Mae; Webster, Jeffery Dale. N-substituted piperazines. U.S. Pat. Appl. Publ. (July 13, 2010), US 7,754,724 B2.
Guggenheim, Kathryn G.; Butler, Jeffrey D.; Painter, Phillip P.; Lorsbach, Beth A.; Tantillo, Dean J.; Kurth, Mark J. “Synthesis of Spiro-Fused Pyrazolidoylisoxazolines” Journal of Organic Chemistry201176, 5803-5812
Meng, Liping; Lorsbach, Beth A.; Sparks, Thomas C.; Fettinger, James C.; Kurth, Mark J. “Parallel Synthesis of Bis-heterocyclic Isoxazolylmethyl- and Isoxazolinylmethylpyrazoles” Journal of Combinatorial Chemistry2010, 12, 129-136.
Milinkevich, Kristin A.; Yoo, Choong L.; Sparks, Thomas C.; Lorsbach, Beth A.; Kurth, Mark J. “Synthesis and biological activity of 2-(4,5-dihydroisoxazol-5-yl)-1,3,4-oxadiazoles.” Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters2009, 19, 5796-5798
Yu, Gui J.; Iwamoto, Satori; Robins, Lori I.; Fettinger, James C.; Sparks, Thomas C.; Lorsbach, Beth A.; Kurth, Mark J. 3-(Arylthiomethyl)isoxazole-4,5-dicarboxamides: Chemoselective Nucleophilic Chemistry and Insecticidal Activity. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2009, 57(16), 7422-7426.
Choung, Wonken; Lorsbach, Beth A.; Sparks, Thomas C.; Ruiz, James M.; Kurth, Mark J. “4-(Isoxazol-3-yl)pyrimidines from pyrimidinyl nitrile oxides.” Synlett2008, 19, 3036-3040
James M. Ruiz and Beth A. Lorsbach. “Computer Aided Library Design for Agrochemical Lead Generation: Design and Synthesis of Ring-Fused 2-Pyridinone Esters”,New Discoveries in AgroChemicals; J.M. Clark, H. Ohkawa, Eds.;. ACS Symposium Series 892; American Chemical Society: Washington, D.C., 2005; p 99.
Benko, Zoltan L.; Davis, George E.; Young, David H.; Owen, John W.; Lorsbach, Beth A. Combinatorial approach to lead generation and the discovery of a novel agent for Septoria tritici control. 248th ACS National Meeting & Exposition, San Francisco, CA, United States, August 10-14, 2014 (2014), AGRO-624.
Lawler, Lori K.; Hegde, Vidyadhar B.; Lorsbach, Beth A.; Loso, Michael R.; Pobanz, Mark A. Partnering for success with contract research organizations (CROs) to enhance discovery R&D productivity. 246th ACS National Meeting & Exposition, Indianapolis, IN, United States, September 8-12, 2013 (2013), AGRO-272.
Lorsbach, Beth A.; Hegde, Vidyadhar; Hunter, James E.; Lambert, William T.; Lawler, Lori K.; Pernich, Daniel J.; Young, David D.; Wang, Nick . Accelerating discovery through risk-sharing collaborations. 246th ACS National Meeting & Exposition, Indianapolis, IN, United States, September 8-12, 2013(2013),AGRO-270.
Brewster, William K.; Camper, Debby; Gundla, Rambabu; Gustafson, Gary D.; Hunter, James E.; Joshi, Hemant; Lo, William J.; Lorsbach, Beth A.; Loso, Michael; Mandaleswaran, Adiraj; Sanam, Ramadev; Arumugan, Premkumar; Pernich, Daniel J. Research directed towards the discovery of novel thymidylate synthase inhibitors as agricultural fungicides. 246th ACS National Meeting & Exposition, Indianapolis, IN, United States, September 8-12, 2013(2013),AGRO-214.
Webster, Jeffery D.; Lorsbach, Beth A.; Olson, Monica; Geng, Chaoxian. Discovery and the structure activity relationship of a series of novel oxadiazole-based insecticides. 246th ACS National Meeting & Exposition, Indianapolis, IN, United States, September 8-12, 2013(2013),AGRO-205.
Benko, Zoltan; Lawler, Lori K.; Lorsbach, Beth; Parker, Marshall; Ruiz, James; Webster, Jeff. Use of Combinatiorial Chemistry to Support Lead Generation Approaches. Abstracts, 42nd Central Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society, Indianapolis, IN, United States, June 8-10 (2011)
Lorsbach, Beth A.; Ruiz, James M.; Sparks, Thomas C.; Webster, Jeffery D.; Sullenberger, Michael T.; Morrison, Irene. Pharmacophore design and parallel synthesis of phenylpiperidine/phenylpiperazine libraries as insect calcium channel inhibitors. Abstracts of Papers, 236th ACS National Meeting, Philadelphia, PA, United States, August 17-21, 2008 (2008),
Sparks, T.C., Lorsbach, B.A., Ruiz, J.M., Webster, J.D., Sullenberger, M.T., Daeuble, J.F., Oliver, M.P. 2008a. Cheminformatics and Lead Generation for Insect Control. 4th Pan-Pacific Conference on Pesticide Science, June 1-5, 2008, Honolulu, HI. Poster presentation, #64.
B. A. Lorsbach; J. D. Webster, J. M. Ruiz, M. L. Foster, P. R. Schmitzer, D. L. Camper “Overview of an Anthranilate Synthase Screening Strategy, Hit Prioritization, and Exploitation of Hits via a Solution-Phase Arylsulfonamide Library” Pan Pacific Conference, Honolulu, Hawaii, December 2005
B. A. Lorsbach, J. M. Ruiz, P. R. Schmitzer “Synthesis and Herbicidal Activity of Substituted 5,6-Fused Ring Heterocycles and Thiazoles.” American Chemical Society Central Regional Meeting, Indianapolis, IN 46220, June 4, 2004.