Rob Coleman

Emeritus Professor
Emeritus Faculty


Education: B.S. Honors in Chemistry, University of Iowa, 1981; M.S. Medicinal Chemistry, University of Kansas, 1984; Ph.D. Organic Chemistry, Purdue University, 1987; NIH Postdoctoral Fellow, Yale University, 1988-1989.

Positions Held: 1989-1995, Assistant Professor, University of South Carolina; 1995-1996, Associate Professor, University of South Carolina; 1996-2000, Associate Professor, Ohio State University; 2000-present, Professor, Ohio State University.

Honors and Awards: Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2008; Hatcher Award for Academic Excellence, Colleges of the Arts & Sciences, Ohio State University, 2004; Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching, Ohio State University, 1998; Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellow, 1995-1998; Michael J. Mungo Award for Undergraduate Instruction, University of South Carolina, 1994; American Cyanamid Young Faculty Award, 1993-1996; Bristol-Myers Squibb University Relations Program Research Award, 1993; Lilly Foundation Teaching Fellow, University of South Carolina, 1992-1993; American Cancer Society Junior Faculty Research Award, 1991-1993; Genentech Investigator in Biomolecular Chemistry Award, 1990-1992; Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation Distinguished New Faculty Award, 1989-1994; National Institutes of Health (NCI) Postdoctoral Fellowship, Yale University, 1988-1989; National Institutes of Health Predoctoral Trainee, University of Kansas, 1984-1985

Recent members of the Coleman research group are employed in the pharmaceutical industry, including Vertex, Schering-Plough, Roche Biosciences, Dow, GlaxoSmithKline, Millenium, Merck, and Lilly. Professor Coleman is currently not accepting graduate students.

Research Overview

Synthetic Organic and Medicinal Chemistry

The Coleman group is interested in the study of naturally occurring antitumoragents. A current focus is the antitumor agents azinomycins A and B, whichhave biological activity in vitro and in vivo in experimental tumor systems, and which covalently cross-link duplex DNA. The Coleman laboratory has established a program of study encompassing a total synthesis project, computational modeling of the interaction of the agents with DNA, and efforts to experimentally examine the DNA cross-linking chemistry with the natural agents obtained by fermentation.

Coleman figure 1


The Coleman group has initiated studies on a novel family of lignan natural products, schiarisanrins A-D. These cytotoxic natural products possess astructurally unique spirocyclic cyclohexadienone ring system. These natural products possess unusual chirality that originates in a axis of chirality that is converted to a stereogenic center upon oxidative cyclization during biosynthesis. Coleman and co-workers recently reported the first description of the synthesis of the parent spirocyclic ring system. Bioorganic projects in the Coleman group include the design of fluorescent probes with which to study DNA bending. A coumarin C-riboside has been synthesized using a stereoselective C-glycosidation reaction, and this probe has been incorporated synthetically into DNA. Using the technique of time-resolved Stokes shift spectroscopy, the picosecond motions of DNA to be directly observed for the first time. Support for research in the Coleman group comes from the National Institutes of Health.

Recent Publictions

Robert S. Coleman, Srinivas Reddy Gurrala, Soumya Mitra, and Amresh Raao, “Asymmetric Total Synthesis of Dibenzocyclooctadiene Lignan Natural Products,” Journal of Organic Chemistry 2005, 70, 8932-8941.

Robert S. Coleman, Matthew C. Walczak, and Erica L. Campbell, “Total Synthesis of Lucilactaene, A Cell Cycle Inhibitor Active in p53-Inactive Cells,” Journal of the American Chemical Society 2005, 127, 16038-16039.

Robert S. Coleman and Matthew C. Walczak, “Tandem Stille/Suzuki-Miyaura Coupling Reactions of a Hetero bis-Metallated 1,3-Butadiene. Rapid, One-Pot Assembly of Tetraene Systems,” Organic Letters 2005, 7, 2289-2291.

Robert S. Coleman and Xiaoling Lu, “Total Synthesis of Strobilurin B using a Hetero-bis-metallated Linchpin,” Chemical Communications 2006, 423-425.

Gilbert T. Kelly, Chaomin Liu, Roger Smith III, Robert S. Coleman, and Coran M. H. Watanabe, “Cellular Effects Induced by the Antitumor Agent Azinomycin B,” Chemistry and Biology 2006, 13, 485-492.

Robert S. Coleman, Xiaoling Lu, and Isabelle Modolo, “Total Synthesis of 2′-O-Methylmyxalamide D and (6E)-2′-O-Methylmyxalamide D,” Journal of the American Chemical Society 2007, 129, 3826-3827.

Robert S. Coleman, Mark A. Berg, and Catherine J. Murphy, “Coumarin Base-Pair Replacement as a Fluorescent Probe of Ultrafast DNA Dynamics,” Tetrahedron 2007, 71, 3450-3456.

Robert S. Coleman, Robert L. Woodward, Amy M. Hayes, Erika B. Crane, Stefano Alcaro, Anna Artese, and Francesco Ortuso, “Dependence of DNA Sequence Selectivity and Cell Cytotoxicity on Azinomycin A and B Epoxyamide Stereochemistry,” Organic Letters 2007, 9, 1891-1894.

Robert S. Coleman, Mark T. Tierney, Sarah B. Cortright, and Daniel J. Carper, “Synthesis of Functional “Top-Half” Partial Structures of Azinomycin A and B,” Journal of Organic Chemistry 2007, 72, 7726-7735.

Soumya Mitra, and Srinivas Reddy Gurrala, and Robert S. Coleman, “Total Synthesis of the Eupomatilones,” Journal of Organic Chemistry 2007, 72, 8724-8736.

Robert S. Coleman, Erica L. Campbell, and Daniel J. Carper, “A Direct and Efficient Total Synthesis of the Tubulin-Binding Agents Ceratamines A and B; Use of IBX for a Remarkable Heterocycle Dehydrogenation,” Organic Letters 2009, 11, 2133-2136.


Areas of Expertise
  • Organic Chemistry
Dr. Rob Coleman