Robert Renthal

Robert D. Renthal, Ph.D.


Phone: (210) 458-5452
Email: Robert.Renthal@utsa.edu
Lab website

Areas of Specialization
  • Biochemistry and Biophysics of Cell Membranes
  • Insect Chemical Communication
  • Lanthanide Tags in Live Bacterial Cells

UTSA Neurosciences Institute


Ph.D. in Biochemistry; Columbia University
A.B. in Chemistry; Princeton University

Research Interests

Research in Dr. Renthal's lab is focused on the following areas:

  1. Biochemistry and biophysics of cell membranes – What are the biophysical mechanisms of folding and oligomerization of membrane-embedded proteins? How do oligomeric channels form in membranes?
  2. Chemical communication by insects and ticks – How do ant colonies establish and maintain interaction networks? What semiochemicals and chemoreception-related proteins are involved in mate and host identification by tick and fly vectors of human diseases?
  3. Tick immune system – Why do tick vectors harbor pathogenic bacteria, such as Lyme disease spirochetes, instead of killing or expelling them? How do Lyme disease bacteria evade the tick immune system?

Training Opportunities

Fluorescence spectroscopy - membrane protein oligomerization is measured by fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET), using artificial membrane patches known as nanodiscs. Functions of chemoreception-related proteins are studied by fluorescence spectroscopy.
Lipidomics and proteomics - cuticular lipids, sensory appendage proteins, salivary/midgut proteins, and hemolymph proteins are analyzed by high performance liquid chromatography coupled to a high resolution tandem mass spectrometer. Individual glands and sensory appendages are examined by imaging mass spectrometry.


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