About our program
Our goal is to conduct high quality research focused on some of the most important basic and applied questions in chemistry, biology, and ecology, with the guiding themes of understanding chemical and biological diversity in the tropics and bio-prospecting in Nevada’s Great Basin. The program's research in relatively unexplored regions of the world adds critical data to important basic research questions and may yield novel natural products with therapeutic and agricultural potential.
About the program
The “omics” era of the life sciences has re-invigorated the discipline of natural products chemistry, finally equipping scientists with the tools to rapidly understand the origins of natural products and their role in ecology, medicine, and agriculture. The University of Nevada, Reno has developed an internationally recognized expertise in the fields of chemical ecology and natural products chemistry. Our expertise in metabolomics, genomics, ecology, mathematical and statistical modeling, organic chemistry, and biochemistry provides a unique opportunity for chemical ecologists to visit the University of Nevada, Reno and to benefit from our unique collaborative approach to solving problems in chemistry, ecology, evolution, medicine, and agriculture.
Our ultimate goal is to capitalize on our current success and to maximize production by developing a scientific center that will bring an international cohort of scientists to perform chemical analysis in state of the art laboratory facilities, while simultaneously benefiting from multi-disciplinary consulting and training from the collaborative group of experts at the University. This center would continue to enhance international recognition through hosting workshops and conferences in a variety of interdisciplinary topics, by developing unique multi-disciplinary training opportunities, and by attracting highly talented and qualified graduate students through center fellowships. An important ancillary goal is to continue to integrate both global and local communities through a variety of outreach efforts in collaboration with Earthwatch and local organizations, and to engage citizen scientists in the activities of the center.
Examining the origins of natural products and their role in ecology, medicine, and agriculture.
Is there a cure for cancer in the Great Basin? Are there undiscovered anti-fungal mixtures in Great Basin plants, insects, and microorganisms? Antibiotics? Natural insecticides? The world renowned Chemical Ecology group at the University of Nevada Reno is poised to answer these and related questions and to reap benefits of Nevada ecosystems that go far beyond mineral resources. This group of chemists, ecologists, biochemists, and statisticians includes over a dozen faculty who fully utilize cutting edge tools to examine the origins of natural products and their role in ecology, medicine, and agriculture.
Our goal is to conduct high quality research focused on some of the most important basic and applied questions in chemistry, biology, and ecology, with bioprospecting in Nevada's Great Basin as a guiding theme. Over half of the worlds therapeutics are derived from natural sources (including plants, animals, and microorganisms) most of which have never been studied in the Great Basin. The focus on this relatively unexplored region of the world will yield novel natural products with therapeutic and agricultural potential.
Funding will allow development of a scientific center of excellence that will strengthen collaborations with an international cohort of scientists representing over 7 countries, and it will enhance the existing state of the art laboratory, training, and consulting facilities. Our multi-disciplinary understanding of the chemistry, genomics, and evolution of biologically relevant small molecules, uniquely positions our group to develop novel approaches to the discovery of compounds that have unique applications to multiple industries and economic endeavors in Nevada. We will search for these molecules in plants, fungi, diverse microbial communities, and even venom in hundreds of species of bees, wasps, amphibians, and reptiles native to Nevada.