Biosciences Graduate Program

James B. Gloer, BS, PhD


Professor of Chemistry

Contact Information

Office: E515 CB
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-361

Web: More About Dr. Gloer - Related Websites and Resources


BS, Chemistry, University of Florida
PhD, Chemistry, University of Illinois-Urbana

Post Doctorate, Cornell University

Research Summary

"The primary goal of our research group is the isolation and structure determination of novel fungal natural products with pharmacological, agricultural, and/or ecological significance. Many important natural products (e.g., antibiotics, anticancer agents) have been discovered through studies of the chemistry of bacteria and fungi. Our studies make use of observations in fungal ecology in order to target certain classes of fungi as logical sources of valuable new metabolites. Through these studies, we also seek to contribute to a better understanding of the roles of these compounds in the life cycles of the fungi that produce them. Our efforts in this area include studies of fungal metabolites involved in interspecies competition within natural ecosystems and investigations of the possibility that certain fungal metabolites may serve as chemical defenses against fungivorous predators. This research is interdisciplinary, and most of our projects involve collaborative arrangements with coworkers from neighboring disciplines. Organisms currently under investigation include aquatic, coprophilous, mycoparasitic, and sclerotium-forming fungi. Representative results from two projects under way in our group provide useful illustrations of our approach. We have found that key physiological structures (sclerotia) produced by members of the common fungal genus Aspergillus often contain unique bioactive natural products (e.g., Figure 1). These compounds appear to play a role in defending sclerotia from attack by fungivorous insects. Some of the compounds exhibit potent activity against economically important insect pests and could be useful as natural insecticides. In a second project, reports of interspecies competition among coprophilous (dung-colonizing) fungi have led us to investigate the chemical basis for these observations. Metab-olites responsible for such effects are essentially natural antifungal agents. We have isolated many new antifungal metabolites from coprophilous species, including the novel multicyclic compound preussomerin A Many of the fungi employed in our research are maintained and cultured in our own laboratory. The process of discovering and isolating biologically active natural products is guided by bioassays for antiinsectan, antibacterial, antifungal, and potential anti-tumor activities that are carried out by our group, or by collaborating biologists. We employ a variety of chromatographic techniques, especially HPLC, in the analysis, isolation, and purification of compounds of interest. State-of-the-art methods for structure determination, including HRMS, 1H and 13C NMR spectroscopy, and 2D-NMR techniques are then applied to the solution of structural problems."

Date Last Modified: 10/09/2015 - 15:23:31