Executive Director and President of the non-profit i.F.r.o.g.s.

Indigenous Forest Research Organization for Global Sustainability

Post Graduate Studies
2011-2012: Postdoc in Laboratory of Prof. Ryan Van Wagnoner and Chris Ireland, Department of Medicinal Chemistry, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112
• 2008- 2011: PhD student in the Laboratory of Prof. Chris Shaw, School of Pharmacy, Queen’s Univeristy in Belfast, Northern Ireland, U.K.
• December 2007: M.Sc. in Chemical Biology (Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY; sponsored by Prof. Jerrold Meinwald; rotations 2005-6)
• May 2004: M.A. in Chemistry (Department of Chemistry, Columbia University; sponsored by Prof. Koji Nakanishi)
• Summer 2003: Visiting scientist at Columbia University’s Biosphere 2 Center’s Chemistry Unit, sponsored by Professors Koji Nakanishi and Jerrold Meinwald
• 2002-3: M.A. student in Conservation Biology, Dept. Ecology, Evolution, & Environ. Biology, Columbia Univ. & Dept. of Herpetology, American Museum Natural History- C. J. Raxworthy
• Summer 2002: Internship with John W. Daly, PhD, at the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Undergraduate Studies
1997- May 2002 University of Florida (UF), Gainesville; graduated with Highest Honors
B.S. degree in Zoology & B.S. degree in Chemistry with Biochemistry option

Research  and other Professional Interests

  • Chemical Ecology, ‘chemical biology’, biosynthetic enzymes.
  • NMR spectroscopy and Mass Spectrometry.
  • Isolation, structure elucidation, pharmacology, and physiological functions of secondary metabolites and peptides.
  • Anuran diet/toxin sources and other arthropod-amphibian interactions. 
  • Herpetology, Entomology, Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology.
  • Field work with a geographic focus on Madagascar and the Guiana Shield.
  • Photography (published and in exhibitions). Popular writing (blogs, freelance).
  • Publications (link)

    König, E., V. C. Clark, C. Shaw and O. R. P. Bininda-Emonds. 2012. Molecular cloning of skin peptide precursor-encoding cDNAs from tibial gland secretion of the Giant Monkey Frog, Phyllomedusa bicolor (Hylidae, Anura). Peptides, 38: 371-376.

    Clark, V. C.*, L. Harinantenaina, M. Zeller, W. Ronto, J. Rocca, A. T. Dossey, D.   Rakotondravony, D. G. I. Kingston and C. Shaw (Publication Date Web: January 30, 2012, Article). "An Endogenous Bile Acid and Diet-Sequestered Sucrose from Skin Secretions of Alkaloid-Sequestering Poison Frogs." J. Nat. Prod., 75(3): 473-478.
    Clark, V. C. 2010. Collecting arthropod and amphibian secretions for chemical analyses. Behavioral and Chemical Ecology W. Zhang and H. Liu. New York, Nova Science    Publishers, Inc.: 1-46.
    Means, D. B., Duellman, W. E., and V. C. Clark. 2008. Ovipositing behavior of the egg-brooding frog Stefania ayangannae (Anura, Hemiphractidae). Phyllomedusa. 7(2): 143-8.
    Soriano, E. V., V. C. Clark and S. E. Ealick. 2007. Structures of human deoxycytidine kinase product complexes. Acta Crystallographica D63: 1201-1207.
    Clark, V. C.*, V. Rakotmalala, O. Ramilijoana, L. Abrell and B. L. Fisher. 2006. Individual variation in alkaloid content of poison frogs of Madagascar (Mantella; Mantellidae). Journal of Chemical Ecology. 32: 2219-2233.
    Clark, V. C.*, C. J. Raxworthy, V. Rakotomalala, P. Sierwald, and B. L. Fisher. 2005. Convergent evolution of chemical defense in poison frogs and arthropod prey between Madagascar and the Neotropics. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 102:11617-11622.
    Daly, J. W.*, H. M. Garraffo, T. F. Spande, V. C. Clark, J. Ma, H. Ziffer and J. F. Cover Jr. 2003. Evidence for an enantioselective pumiliotoxin 7-hydroxylase in dendrobatid poison frogs of the genus Dendrobates. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 100: 11092-11097.
    Clark, V. C. (2001). “Rana heckscheri—Ectoparasites.” Natural History Notes. Herpetological Review 32(1): 36.
    Clark, V. C. (1998). Frog Skin Secretions. Reptile Hobbyist. 3(5): 78-82.
    Thesis: Undergraduate---Clark, V. C. (2002). The effects of submerged vegetation density, water depth, and substrate on argulid parasite abundance on Rana heckscheri tadpoles. University of Florida, Gainesville on microfiche.

    Acknowledgements in Papers
    Daly, J. W., T. F. Spande and H. M. Garraffo (2005). Alkaloids from Amphibian Skin: A Tabulation of Over Eight-Hundred Compounds. J. Nat. Prod. 68(10): 1556-1575.
    Daly, J. W., T. Kaneko, et al. (2002). Bioactive alkaloids of frog skin: Combinatorial bioprospecting reveals that pumiliotoxins have an arthropod source. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 99(22): 13996-14001.
    Hutchinson, D. A., A. Mori, A. H. Savitzky, G. M. Burghardt, et al. (2007). The Dietary Sequestration of Defensive Steroids in Nuchal Glands of the Asian Snake Rhabdophis tigrinus. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 104(7): 2265-2270.

    Service for Peer Review
    National Geographic Society grants, PLoS ONE, Journal of Natural Products

    1.   2012: ‘Exploring the Diversity and Ecology of Amphibian Skin Chemicals’ invited lectures delivered at:
          A. A.Watson Armour III Seminar Series at the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, Illinois, USA (June 13, 2012),
          B. Iowa State University, at El Zota Biological Station, COSTA RICA (May field course)
          C. Plenary lecture at Herpetos Venonosos Meeting, Valencia, SPAIN  (March 24, 2012)
          D. Integrative Biology, University of Texas at Austin, TX, USA (February 27, 2012),
          E. New Mexico Herpetological Society, Albuquerque, NM, USA  (February 25, 2012),
          F. Biology, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, USA (February 10, 2012).
    2.   July 2011: Invited oral for ‘Student Research Award’ at annual meeting of the American Society of Pharmacognosy in San Diego, California, USA. ‘A novel endogenous bile acid in bittersweet poison frog skin may explain dietary alkaloid sequestration.’
    2.   May 2011: Invited seminar, School of Natural Sciences, National University Ireland Galway, IRELAND. Exploring the diversity and ecology of amphibian skin chemicals.’
    3.   April 2011: Wild Evolution Group Seminar, Biological Sciences, University of Edinburgh, SCOTLAND, UK. ‘Exploring the diversity and ecology of amphibian skin chemicals.’
    4.   April 2011: Student oral at British Ecology Society Tropical Ecology Group annual meeting in Newcastle, ENGLAND, UK.  ‘Tropical poison frogs in degraded Madagascar rainforests have fewer defensive skin chemicals than those from intact habitats.
    5.   January 2011: Invited Seminar, Chemistry Department, Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, FL, USA. ‘Exploring the diversity and ecology of amphibian skin chemicals.’
    6.   December 2010: Invited plenary lecture, Congreso Uruguayo de Zoologia, Montevideo, URUGUAY. ‘Exploring the diversity and ecology of amphibian skin chemicals.
    7.   July 2010: Invited plenary lecture, Lough Boora Community Center, County Offaly, IRELAND. ‘Exploring the biomedical potential of amphibian skin secretions.’
    8.   December 2009: Invited lecture at National Geographic Head Quarters in Washington, DC.
    9.   July 2009: Paper—25th Annual Meeting of the International Society of Chemical Ecology, Neuchatel, SWITZERLAND. ‘New approach to study poison frog secretions reveals novel frog skin chemistry.
    10. June 2008: Poster—Association for Tropical Biology & Conservation 2008 annual meeting, SURINAME—“A tribute to John W. Daly, the pioneer of frog chemistry.
    ‘The ecology and evolution of chemical defense in poison frogs and their dietary arthropods.’
    Variations of this lecture were presented to audiences detailed in 11-16 below    
    11.   December 2007: Invited lecture and demonstrations, presented to MacArthur fellows and founder of Google, at Ranomafana National Park, MADAGASCAR.
    12. October 2007: Invited lecture at National Geographic Head Quarters in Washington, DC.
    13. July 2007: Invited plenary lecture at joint meeting of the Society of Colombian Entomologists (SOCOLEN)/Florida Entomological Society in Cartagena, COLOMBIA.
    14. July 2006: Paper-- 22nd Annual Meeting of the International Society of Chemical Ecology, Barcelona, SPAIN.
    15. June 2006: Cornell Chemistry Graduate Student Summer Seminar series. NY, USA
    16. Dec. 2005: Invited lecture-- Cornell Herpetological Society, Ithaca, NY, USA
    17. August 2002: Poster (w/ John W. Daly, PhD)—NIH Summer Student Poster Day—‘Profiles of Biologically Active Alkaloids from Dendrobatid Poison Frogs’ Bethesda, MD, USA.
    18. April 2002: Paper--Zoology Undergraduate Research Symposium—‘The effects of submerged vegetation density, water depth, and substrate on argulid parasite abundance on Rana heckscheri tadpoles.’  Gainesville, FL, USA
    19. March 2002: Paper—The 25th Annual All Florida Herpetology Conference—   ‘Ecological      factors on argulid parasitism of Rana heckscheri tadpoles.’ Gainesville, FL, USA

    Scholarships, Studentships, Funding/Grants
    2011                American Society of Pharmacognosy, Student Research Award consisting of engraved plaque and travel funds to attend annual meeting (San Diego, CA, USA)
    2010                Queen’s University in Belfast Emily Sarah Montgomery Travel Scholarship to present plenary lecture at Zoology Congress in Montevideo, Uruguay (£650)
    2009                International Society of Chemical Ecology Student travel award ($400 to defray costs to present at annual meeting in Neuchatel, Switzerland + award of 2010 membership fees)
    2009-2010      National Geographic Society Committee for Research and Exploration grant for salamander fieldwork in California, USA ($8,298 to Clark as PI)
    2008-2011      Post graduate student fellowship including all fees and student stipend, School of Pharmacy, Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK
    2007-9 National Geographic Society Committee for Research and Exploration grant for fieldwork in Madagascar ($24,895 to Clark as PI for 2007-8 expedition)
    2006 Cornell Univ. Graduate School Conference Grant ($650 to defray costs to present at International Society of Chemical Ecology meeting in Barcelona, Spain)
    2005-6 TA appointment in the Department of Chemistry & Chem. Biology, Cornell Univ.
    2003-2005 Faculty Fellowship for PhD studies, Department of Chemistry, Columbia Univ.
    2003 Biosphere 2 Chemistry Unit Summer Stipend from Columbia University ($4,900)
    2003 Allocation of CJ Raxworthy’s NSF BSI funds for Madagascar fieldwork ($9,000)
    2002 International House (NYC) Resident Scholarship ($1,000/semester)
    2002 NIH Summer Student Program ($10,000)
    2001 International Center Tropical Ecology Scholarship, Summer Study Abroad ($1K)
    1997-2001 John Hopkins Univ. Applied Physics Laboratory Scholarship (½ tuition & fees)
    1997-2001 Honors UF Out of State student scholarship, four year value $10,000

    Honors, Honorary Societies and Elected Offices
    • 2005-2012 Press coverage of Clark et al. PNAS 2005, JCE 2006, JNP 2012 papers: National Geographic Magazine and online news, New York Times, Chemical & Engineering News, Science, Scientific American (+worldwide affiliates), Chemistry World (Royal Society UK), London Telegraph News, Bloomberg News, San Francisco Chronicle, National Public Radio--five appearances on three radio shows 2006-8, BBC October 4 2006 Leading Edge Radio Program, numerous websites (e.g.,,, yahoo), science magazines, newspapers and others in Mexico, Canada, Scandinavia, Germany, France, Korea, Vietnam, Madagascar, and many others. 2009 features in German and Chinese magazines.
    2011            2011 Student Research Award from the American Society of Pharmacognosy
    •2002 Elected Sigma Xi member (by Univ. of Florida Chapter)
    • 2002, May B.S. with Highest Honors in Zoology and (Bio)chemistry at the Univ. of Florida
    • 1997-2002 University of Florida Honors Program
    • 2001 Elected Golden Key National Honor Society member
    • 1997 State of Maryland Distinguished Scholar Certificate Award, Honorable Mention
    • In High school, elected to senior board and vice-president of French club (1996-7)
    • 1997 Graduated with honors at Mt. Hebron High School, Ellicott City, Maryland.

    Membership in Scientific Organizations
    Sigma Xi (elected in 2002)
    American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
    American Chemical Society (ACS)
    American Society for Mass Spectrometry (ASMS; 2006-7)
    Cornell Herpetological Society (CHS)
    Florida Entomological Society (FES)
    International Society of Chemical Ecology (ISCE)
    Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles (SSAR; 2000-present)

    Teaching Experience
    1. 2012 Spring: Tropical Field Biology Course in Costa Rica (Prof. Jill Pruetz, Iowa State Univ)
    2. 2008 Fall: TA for Statistics, Queen’s University in Belfast, U.K.
    3. 2006 Fall: TA for Organic Chemistry Laboratory (Cornell Univ. Chem 251)
    4. 2006 Spring: TA/guest lecturer, World Of Chemistry, Prof. Roald Hoffmann (CU Chem 106)
    5. 2005 Fall: Gave invited lectures and other voluntary assistance to Chem 105, the Language of Chemistry (Chemical Ecology oriented), for Prof. Jerrold Meinwald (Cornell University)
    6. 2005 Fall: TA for General Chemistry Laboratory (Cornell University Chem 207)
    7. 2004 Fall: TA for Organic Chemistry Lecture Recitations (Columbia University)
    8. 2003 Fall: TA for Organic Chemistry Laboratory (Columbia University)
    9. 2000-2: Tutored extensively for Prof. Steven Benner’s Biochemistry (CHM 4207, U Florida)
    10. 2002 Spring: TA for Prof. Ron Wolff’s Biophotography PGY 5246 (Univ. of Florida)

    Foreign Languages
    Reading, writing, and basic speaking competence in Spanish; fluent French; kely Malagasy.
    2003, 2007-8: Seven months of research expeditions in the francophone country of Madagascar.
    2001, summer: Six weeks in Yucatan, Mexico with host family.
    1995, summer: One month in France with host family.

    Other Certifications/Talents
    • Certified SCUBA (1997) with over 400 dives (Florida, Belize, Madagascar, Mexico, Spain).
    • Photographer (Nikon D200 and Nikon Coolpix 995; published and exhibitions with openings).

    Work and Volunteer Positions

    A. Retail
    1995-1996 Reptile/Amphibian Specialist at Petco pet store, Ellicott City, Maryland.
    1998 Summer job at Deep Six Watersports scuba shop, Stuart, Florida.

    B. Zoological Parks, Aquaria:
    1996 Worked primarily with anurans at the Baltimore Zoo Reptile House (Anthony Wisnieski), Maryland
    2002 Weekend internship at the National Aquarium in Baltimore (Jack Cover, Jr.)

    C. Museum related:
    2002-3 Based at Herpetology Dept. as Columbia U. graduate student, American Museum of Natural History for research with Mantella frogs (Dr. Christopher Raxworthy)
    2000-2 Occasional volunteer in Herpetology collections at the Florida Museum of Natural History (under Prof. Max A. Nickerson, Curator), Univ. of Florida

    D. Editorial related:
    2000 Edited, created chapter summaries, and added figures and paragraphs of text to Dr. Steven A. Benner’s “Post-Genomic Biochemistry” textbook, used in CHM 4207 at UF and other institutions (acknowledged within)

    E. Field Experience
    2007-8 Led 4-month expedition sponsored by the National Geographic Society to NW and SE Madagascar to study diet and chemistry of leaf litter frogs.
    2007 One month expedition to Wokomung Massif, Guyana, South America with D. Bruce Means to find new species of toxic frogs on a remote tepui summit
    2003 Led 3-month expedition to SE rainforests of Madagascar, including Ranomafana National Park and areas south to Tolongoina; these studies focused on the ecology and chemistry of arthropods and Mantellinae frogs, especially Mantella spp.
    1999-2002 Senior thesis project on Rana heckscheri tadpoles and their argulid parasites at borrow pits near I-10 in Osceola National Forest, Florida
    2001-2 Independent photographic study of the alligators of Alachua Sink, Paynes Prairie State Reserve, Gainesville, Florida
    2001-2 Volunteer at Rhinoceros dig in Newberry, FL for Florida Museum of Natural History/UF, headed by Prof. Richard Hurlbert
    2001 August--one week at BFREE (Belize Foundation for Research and Environmental Education) research station of Jacob Marlin, on Bladen River, Belize
    2001 June-August Yucatan, Mexico Ecology class—Six 3 day field trips
    2001 May-June Salamander sampling protocol survey, Great Smoky Mountains, USGS
    2001 April Three days with UF Herpetology class in Apalachicola, Florida
    2000 August One week with Prof. Max Nickerson in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (TN and NC) monitoring cryptobranchid populations on an USGS project (timed snorkeling and scooping surveys)
    2000 May Week long camping field course at Ordway Preserve, Melrose, Florida called Wildlife Field Techniques, WIS 4945 at Univ. of Florida

    F. Laboratory Experience

    2009-10   Thermo Orbitrap Mass Spectrometers, de novo sequencing of tryptic peptide  fragments (Volunteer, J. Busby Laboratory, Scripps, Florida, USA)
    2008-11 HPLC, MALDI, pharmacology, cloning and sequencing of peptides from amphibian skin secretions (Prof. Chris Shaw, School of Pharmacy, Queen’s University in Belfast)
    2006-7 Chemical Ecology, Natural Products Chemistry, GC-MS, and NMR (Prof. Jerrold Meinwald, Cornell Univ. Dept. of Chemistry & Chemical Biology)
    2005-6 Fourier Transform Mass Spectrometry (Prof. Fred McLafferty, Cornell Chemistry)
    2005 X-ray crystallographic studies of deoxycytidine kinase complexes, protein expression and purification, etc. (Prof. Steven Ealick)
    2003-5 GC-MS of dietary sources of alkaloids in Mantella frogs, at the Biosphere 2 Chemistry Unit in Arizona and at Columbia University Chemistry Dept. (Prof. Koji Nakanishi)
    2004-5 Isolation of gram quantities of ginkgolides for pharmacological studies, kinetics of A2E formation (Prof. Koji Nakanishi, Columbia Chemistry)
    2002 May-August—Chemist/Biologist position via the NIH Summer Student Program; worked with John W. Daly, PhD, Section on Pharmacodynamics, Laboratory of Bioorganic Chemistry, National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), NIH, Bethesda, Maryland (please see publications and acknowledgements)
    2000 Organic Synthesis in Prof. Steven Benner’s Biochemistry group (UF) with Dr. Kevin Devine. Non-standard nucleotides project, uridine derivative synthesis.
    Chemistry Lab courses taken at UF: General Chemistry 2045L, 2046L; Organic Chemistry 2211L; Analytical Chemistry 3120L; Biochemistry/Molecular Biology 4302L; Organic Spectroscopy 5235; Biophysical Chemistry 4413L

    Collaborators on
    National Geographic and i.F.r.og.s. Sponsored MADAGASCAR RESEARCH:
    Dr. Brian L. Fisher (Associate Curator and Chair of Entomology, California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, California AND Antananarivo, Madagascar)
    Valérie Prisca Rakotomalala (Research Assistant at California Academy of Sciences Ant Lab (BL Fisher) in Antananarivo, Madagascar)
    Prof. Hery Rakatodravony (Dept. of Animal Biology, Univ. Antananarivo, Madagascar)
    Prof. Daniel Rakatodravony (Dept. of Animal Biology, Univ. Antananarivo, Madagascar)
    Dr. Petra Sierwald (Associate Curator--Zoology, Insects, Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago; specializes on spiders and millipedes)

    Prof. Patricia C. Wright (Founder and Executive Director Centre ValBio, and Institute for the Conservation of Tropical Environments, Dept Anthropology, Stony Brook University)

    Numerous other collaborative studies are in progress and details of faculty and student collaborators will be posted on website.

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