Skip to main content

Robert B. Grossman


A.B., Princeton University, 1987
Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1992


Our group develops new synthetic methods and applies them to the synthesis of natural products and biologically relevant compounds. Students learn skills that prepare them for employment in the pharmaceutical and contract synthesis industries.

In a collaborative project with Prof. Chris Schardl in the College of Agriculture, we are elucidating the biosynthetic route to loline alkaloids, naturally occurring insecticides that are produced by fungi that live between the cell walls of certain grasses. We use various synthetic and molecular biology techniques to identify intermediates along the biosynthetic pathway and to identify the enzymes that catalyze the formation of those intermediates. We are also exploring new total synthetic routes to loline.

New Pedagogy

As a service to the research community, I have created an online database of all of the polycyclic polyprenylated acylphloroglucinols (PPAPs) discovered to date.

I am the author of The Art of Writing Reasonable Organic Reaction Mechanisms, an intermediate-level textbook for advanced undergraduates and beginning graduate students. 

I am also a creator of ACE Organic, a Web-based program for organic chemistry homework that guides students to the correct answer without giving away the answer. 

Selected Publications:

Please see this page for a list of publications.