Alexander Sherwood

Academic, Scientist

Dr. Alexander Sherwood is a medicinal chemist at the Usona Institute. He earned his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of New Orleans in 2014. He did his postdoc work in medicinal and pharmaceutical chemistry at the University of Kansas.

In February 2020, Dr. Sherwood and his research team published a landmark paper in the Journal of Natural Products. The team describes their work synthesizing and studying four lesser-known magic mushroom (aka psilocybin mushroom) compounds; aeruginascinnorpsilocin, baeocystin, and norbaeocystin.1 Psychedelic Science Review wrote about this research in detail in a previous article.

Until now, no one was examining these compounds. Of the four, norpsilocin was just discovered in 2017 by Lenz et al.,2 but hasn’t been studied further. The other compounds have received no research attention, despite their discovery decades ago.

This study has advanced psychedelic science by providing general synthesis routes for four of the minor tryptamine compounds present in naturally occurring magic mushrooms. For the first time, this gives scientists meaningful access to these compounds for further study. The authors also conducted the first biological screenings of baeocystin and norpsilocin.

The extensive list of Dr. Sherwood’s research papers is available on Google Scholar.

    References
  1. Sherwood AM, Halberstadt AL, Klein AK, et al. Synthesis and Biological Evaluation of Tryptamines Found in Hallucinogenic Mushrooms: Norbaeocystin, Baeocystin, Norpsilocin, and Aeruginascin. J Nat Prod. 2020;83:461-467. doi:10.1021/acs.jnatprod.9b01061
  2. 1. Sherwood AM, Halberstadt AL, Klein AK, et al. Synthesis and Biological Evaluation of Tryptamines Found in Hallucinogenic Mushrooms: Norbaeocystin, Baeocystin, Norpsilocin, and Aeruginascin. J Nat Prod. 2020;83:461-467. doi:10.1021/acs.jnatprod.9b01061 2. Lenz C, Wick J, Hoffmeister D. Identification of ω-N-Methyl-4-hydroxytryptamine (norpsilocin) as a Psilocybe natural product. Journal of Natural Products. 2017;80(10):2835-2838. doi:10.1021/acs.jnatprod.7b00407