National Center for Natural Products Research

The University of Mississippi


Photo by UM Photographer Kevin Bain.

Thank you for visiting the website of the National Center for Natural Products Research. We are a university-based academic research unit devoted to the discovery and development of new pharmaceutical and agrichemical technologies based on the amazing chemical diversity of living organisms – plants, animals, and microbes. Natural products, mainly from plant-derived remedies, were the foundation for modern medical practice, and the cornerstone of biomedical research. Even in the 21st century, the majority of our current pharmaceuticals are derived, directly or indirectly, from natural products.

Building from that background, rapid developments in genomics, molecular biology and proteomics have identified new potential mechanistic targets, opening new avenues for discovery of new drugs. New detection, engineering and fabrication, materials science, separation methods, and improved analytical and structural tools have greatly enhanced our ability to rapidly discover new active compounds. And sophisticated drug design and molecular modeling tools, coupled with the ability for parallel synthesis of arrays of analogs, allow optimization of desirable characteristics of new leads.

All these developments make it an exciting time to be involved in drug discovery and development. We hope this portal will be a window for you into the fascinating world of natural products research, and specifically to some of our growing research programs.

We have about 125 people working at the NCNPR from many different disciplines – pharmacognosy [natural products chemistry], microbiology, biochemistry, molecular biology, analytical chemistry, pharmacology/toxicology, medicinal chemistry, botany, plant physiology, plant pathology, pharmaceutics, and more. These scientists are the NCNPR’s greatest resource – our creativity, our productivity, our culture, and ultimately our success, depend on them.

We look forward to the time when you can make the trip to Oxford and the Ole Miss campus, take a personal tour of our facility – the Thad Cochran Research Center, and see our scientists’ work ‘up close’. In the meantime, come on in, have a look around and contact us with any questions or comments you may have.

Dr. Ikhlas Khan