From ancient to modern times, plants have been used as medicinal agents, first on folkloric basis and later developed on a scientific basis into single agent drugs, such as the antiasthmatic drug ephedrine or the anti-cancer drug taxol. The drug discovery and development program in the speaker’s laboratory use plants and microorganisms as an essential route to new pharmaceutical leads.
Prospecting in search of new drugs provides a potentially strong set of tools for the development of local economies and conservation of natural resources in areas rich in biodiversity. Ongoing research that integrates the process of drug discovery leads from natural products, biodiversity conservation, and sustainable economic growth in a unique model that incorporates academic science, traditional knowledge, commercial research and novel intellectual property mechanisms will be discussed.
Barbara Timmermann is University Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicinal Chemistry in the School of Pharmacy at the University of Kansas. Dr. Timmermann’s remarkable record of commitment to education in the classroom has mirrored her research career. She serves as a member of various advisory boards including the American Botanical Council. In 2000, she was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and more recently, she was named a 2006-2007 Woman of Distinction at KU.