Throughout my career, my laboratory has studied sphingolipids, a category of lipids that are important in cell structure, signal transduction and cell-cell communication. For more information about what we found, please refer to the Google Scholar or PubMed links below.
As an Emeritus Professor, I am working on a project that has interested me for a long time--the fact that the active agent in the venom of the brown recluse spider is a sphingomyelinase D that produces a novel product, ceramide 1,3-cyclic phosphate. This activity has also been found in other spiders, bacteria and fungi. With the help of collaborators, I hope to learn more about the organisms that produce and degrade this novel sphingolipid, and possibly find ways to reduce the injury caused by the enzyme when humans encounter it in the environment.