Laboratory for bioanalytical chemistry

NematodesNematode tracks on a film of E. coli

The laboratory of bioanalytical chemistry develops novel analytical techniques to decipher the ecology and evolution of small molecule signaling and secondary metabolism in nematodes (roundworms).


"In short, if all the matter in the universe except the nematodes were swept away, our world would still be dimly recognizable, and if, as disembodied spirits, we could then investigate it, we should find its mountains, hills, vales, rivers, lakes, and oceans represented by a film of nematodes. The location of towns would be decipherable, since for every massing of human beings there would be a corresponding massing of certain nematodes. Trees would still stand in ghostly rows representing our streets and highways. The location of the various plants and animals would still be decipherable, and, had we sufficient knowledge, in many cases even their species could be determined by an examination of their erstwhile nematode parasites." (Nathan Augustus Cobb, 1915).


Latest Lab News

July 2019

Our manuscript on a novel class of modular fatty acid ascarosides from the bacterivorous nematode Caenorhabditis remanei has been published in Organic Letters. We utilized a combination of HPLC-MS/MS precursor ion scanning, micro-reactions, HR-MS/MS, MSn and NMR techniques to identify a series of fatty acid ascarosides that incorporate additional fatty acid building blocks. The structure of the dominating component called fasc#1 carrying a cyclopropyl fatty acid moiety was established by total synthesis. Biogenesis of this female produced male attractant depends on cyclopropyl fatty acid synthase (cfa), which is expressed in bacteria upon entering their stationary growth phase.