Greg Springsteen, Ph.D.



Springsteen, Ph.D.

Professor, Chemistry
Furman University

Protometabolic Analogs of the Modern Citric Acid Cycle

A reaction of glyoxylate with pyruvate under mild aqueous conditions produces a series of α-ketoacid analogues of the reductive citric acid cycle without the need for metals or enzyme catalysts. The transformations proceed in the same sequence as the reverse Krebs cycle with glyoxylate acting as both the carbon source and reducing agent.  The α-ketoacid analogues also provide a route for the synthesis of amino acids by transamination, paralleling the extant metabolic mechanisms. This emerging sequence of prebiotic reactions could have set the stage for increasingly sophisticated metabolic pathways operating under catalytic control.  

Greg Springsteen is a chemistry educator, researcher, and innovator who has collaborated with over 50 undergraduate researchers in his lab in the fields of prebiotic chemistry and metabolism. He received a Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award in 2018, as one of eight faculty nationwide who demonstrated original scholarly research of outstanding quality, as well as excellence and dedication in undergraduate education. Greg has also served for over a decade as a member and Theme Leader in the Center for Chemical Evolution, a 100-scientist NSF- and NASA-funded research consortium. Research from his group has been recognized nationally in journals including Angewandte Chemie, Nature Communications, and Nature Chemistry.

The Springsteen group is also heavily involved in entrepreneurship and has submitted two provisional patents, one US non-provisional, one PCT application. Work in the group has also been commercialized by the founding of a company (Aconabolics LLC) focused on the development of labeled-keto and organic acids for use in metabolic research and diagnostics. Greg also serves as a faculty representative on Furman’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Leadership council.

Since arriving at Furman in 2007, Greg has taught seven Lecture Courses including Organic Chemistry, BioOrganic Chemistry/Org. II, General Chemistry, Biochemistry, Advanced Biochemistry, Molecular Gastronomy, and Techniques in Chemistry, along with their laboratory components, and was awarded the 2018 South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities teaching award, which honors the “Best of the Best among the faculty at the twenty member colleges and universities” based on efforts “that demonstrate its institution's highest standards in teaching.”


  • Postdoctoral Training, The Scripps Research Institute
  • Ph.D.,North Carolina State University
  • B.A., University of Virginia