Pharmacognosy, or natural products research, examines the chemistry, origins, and biological roles of small molecules from nature. These sources include plants, animals, fungi, and microbes from terrestrial, freshwater, and marine environments across the planet. The origin of natural products research long precedes the formalization of the scientific method with the development of herbal remedies by indigenous peoples.
Research in our division includes classical approaches of compound isolation, structure elucidation, and pharmaceutical development. However, our faculty also pursue highly interdisciplinary science that often involves research that draws on many other fields. Our projects are aimed at understanding the biosynthesis of natural products and their role in the environment using state- of-the-art molecular biology and analytical chemistry approaches.
Natural products research often represents the critical first step in the drug discovery pipeline. It also leads to other forms of biotechnology, including molecular probes for use in cell biology, pest control agents for the agriculture industry, chemical additives for the cosmetic industry, as well as dietary supplement science. In addition, natural product research provides important information on the ecological roles of these compounds within source population that addresses conservation and management strategies and provides potential pharmacological insights that further drug discovery.
|Graduate Program Coordinator
|Dr. Cole Stevens
|Fall: February 1
Spring: October 1