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Faculty Profile
Francis Webster

Francis  Webster

Francis Webster


317 Jahn Lab

Ph.D., 1986, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry; Postdoctoral Fellow, SUNY Stony Brook, 1986-1987.

Francis Webster and his research group try to decipher how organisms communicate with one another using chemical signals. These studies on the chemical interactions of plants and animals with one another and with their environment are part of the growing field of chemical ecology. The research is conducted jointly with a team of biologists who carry out basic behavioral studies, bioassay samples to assist in locating the chemical signals, and field test synthetic samples to assess practical applications. Dr. Webster's research complements the biologists with the actual isolation, identification, and synthesis of the compounds involved in chemical communication. These signals typically include both insect and mammalian pheromones (communication between individuals of the same species), insect defense secretions, and plant anti-feedant compounds. The compounds isolated represent most major classes of natural products, and, often times, the isolated material is in microgram or submicrogram amounts. The synthetic chemistry conducted in Dr. Webster's group often tackles many challenging stereochemical problems, and the identification of trace natural compounds pushes the analytical instruments (NMR, GC-MS, and IR) to their limits. Computer programming for the purpose of using computers for structure elucidation and chromatographic analysis is a growing area of research in Dr. Webster's group.

Representative Publications

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