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Our research is directed at characterizing structures and biological functions of biogenic small molecules (BSM’s). BSM’s play important roles in most biological processes, and detailed knowledge of their chemical structures and their interactions with other biomolecules is essential for advancing our molecular understanding of life. BSM’s regulate development and immune responses in plants and animals, and serve important functions in interactions of different organisms with each other. As a result, an organism’s metabolome essentially comprises a collection of small molecules with potentially useful affinities for specific molecular targets. Not surprisingly, BSM’s constitute the most important source of lead structures for drug development.
Compared to template-derived biological macromolecules such as proteins and nucleic acids, BSM’s are chemically much more diverse and correspondingly present great analytical challenges. As a result, genomic and proteomic knowledge has not yet been complemented by a comprehensive characterization of structures and functions of metabolomes, presenting one of the most significant barriers toward advancing our understanding of biological pathways.
The Schroeder lab aims to help close this knowledge gap by developing approaches for a more systematic structural and functional characterization of BSM’s. Usually, BSM’s occur as – often minor – components of a more or less complex biological matrix, comprising a large number of BSM’s and other biomolecules. Traditional approaches for the characterization of BSM’s such as HPLC-MS or activity-guided fractionation have distinct disadvantages that severely limit their applicability. Our aims is to develop NMR spectroscopy-based approaches that complement or enhance traditional methodology by enabling detailed characterization of BSM’s in complex biological samples, with regard to both chemical structure and biological function.
Based on NMR-spectroscopic methodology we have engaged in a comprehensive effort to characterize structures and functions of the metabolome (the entirety of all BSM’s) produced by the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans, focusing on several newly discovered compounds that control development, and ultimately lifespan. In addition we have started a project directed at investigating the chemical ecology of microorganisms in search of leads for new antibiotics. Complementing our interests in analytical chemistry, we pursue development of efficient syntheses for newly identified compounds with particular biological significance.
Please visit our research pages for more details!
- Rates of anxiety and depression have been increasing around the world for decades, a trend that has been sharply exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. New research led by the Boyce […] Read more »
- People have used aspirin to treat pain, fever and inflammation for more than a century, and the drug is also used to reduce the risk of strokes, heart attacks and […] Read more »
- Every day, people are exposed to myriad chemicals, both natural and synthetic. Some of these compounds may affect human physical development, but testing them directly on people would be grossly […] Read more »
- Boyce Thompson Institute president, David Stern, has officially announced promotions for faculty members Frank Schroeder and Joyce Van Eck. Both researchers were thoroughly reviewed and evaluated on both their achievements to date and the potential they possess. Read more »
- Cornell will receive close to $9.4 million over five years to establish the Cornell Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Collaborative Research Center, which will span Cornell’s Ithaca campus, Weill Cornell Medicine, Ithaca College, the Boyce Thompson Institute [Schroeder Lab], the Workwell Foundation, EVMED Research, the SOLVE ME/CFS Initiative and private ME/CFS medical practices. Read more »
- The five-year grant is given to innovative, early career scientists to support high-risk research with the potential to make significant contributions to the field. Read more »
- When C. elegans larvae face starvation, they clump together in a mass of worms, which increases their lifespan. BTI researchers will explore this fascinating social behavior. Read more »
- When plants detect pheromones given off by nematode worms, they activate their immune system for protection. The chemical warning not only triggers defenses against nematodes, but also against bacterial, fungal and viral infection. Read more »
- $3 Million cross-cutting interdisciplinary High-Risk, High-Reward research project taps into unexplored source of antimicrobial compounds. Read more »
- Speakers will include Dr. Frank Schroeder, postdocs Daniela Floss and Patricia Manosalva, Dr. Robert Granados and Dr. Maureen Hanson (from Cornell), and discussion of postgraduate training and education with Dr. David Stern and Dr. Eric Richards. Read more »
- Schroeder's lab works to discover new small molecules and identify their structure and function in the context of aging. “We know everything we see will be unknown, pure discovery...It's pretty intense. We get to the bottom of things.” Read more »
- Conventional wisdom holds that genes determine the morphology of animals, but something else iwormmay be at play. Frank Schroeder from the Boyce Thompson Institute at Cornell University and Ralf Sommer from the Max-Planck Institute in Germany now rep. Read more »
- Scientists have discovered that a species of small, transparent roundworms called Caenorhabditis elegans possess a highly-evolved language in which they combine chemical fragments to create precise molecular messages. Read more »
- A group of scientists who set out to study sex pheromones in a tiny worm found that the same family of pheromones also controls a stage in the worms’ life cycle, the long-lived dauer larva. Read more »