Frank C. Schroeder
Adjunct Assistant Professor




Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-2703


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Research Description

Our research is directed at characterizing structures and biological function of natural products, often referred to as secondary metabolites. The potential of natural products to serve as tools for understanding biological processes at the molecular level and to provide lead structures for the design of new pharmaceuticals to fight human disease is undisputed. Considering their origin in living organisms, natural products must have evolved to serve biological functions. This evolutionary history has resulted in small molecules with useful affinities for specific molecular targets. Nature uses a distinct approach to create such molecules, and biosynthesis often differs in its fundamental logic from laboratory synthesis.

We are particularly interested in improving methods for the detection and structural characterization of natural products. Usually, natural products occur as - often minor - components of a more or less complex biological matrix, which necessitates the use of time-consuming and lossy fractionation procedures for their isolation. Reducing the dependency on fractionation would increase the realm of accessible natural products and aid with determining their biological roles. One of our aims is to develop NMR-based approaches that will enable detailed characterization of secondary metabolites in native or marginally fractionated biological extracts. Using this methodology we pursue the biosynthesis and identification of new polyketides from Bacillus, combinatorial fermentation of fungi, small-molecule signaling in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, as well as compounds mediating chemical defense in arthropods. Check out our research pages for details.


Matthew Gronquist, Frank C. Schroeder. 2010. Arthropods Natural Products. Review. In: Comprehensive Natural Products Chemistry II Eds. Lew Mander, Hung-Wen Liu, Elsevier : in press

Arthur Edison, Frank C. Schroeder. 2010. NMR Spectroscopy of Small Molecules: Complex Mixtures and Increasing Sensitivity. Review. In: Comprehensive Natural Products Chemistry II Eds. Lew Mander, Hung-Wen Liu, Elsevier : in press

Chirag Pungaliya, Jagan Srinivasan, Bennett W. Fox, Rabia U. Malik, Andreas H. Ludewig, Paul W. Sternberg, Frank C. Schroeder. 2009. A shortcut to identifying small molecule signals that regulate behavior and development in Caenorhabditis elegans. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 106: 7708-7713

Barbara A. Caspers, Frank C. Schroeder, Stephan Franke, W. Jürgen Streich, Christian C. Voigt. 2009. Odour-based species recognition in two sympatric species of sac-winged bats (Saccopteryx bilineata, S. leptura): combining chemical analyses, behavioural observations and odour preference tests. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol 63: 741–749, DOI 10.1007/s00265-009-0708-7

Katherine N. Maloney, Masaki Fujita, Ulrike S. Eggert, Frank C. Schroeder, Christine M. Field, Timothy J. Mitchison, Jon Clardy. 2008. Actin-Aggregating Cucurbitacins from Physocarpus capitatus. J. Nat. Prod 71: 1927–1929, DOI: 10.1021/np8005259

More publications.