Healing the planet: medicinal plants and the legacy of Richard E. Schultes
Soejarto, Dr. Djaja D. .
MedicinalPlants and the Legacy of Richard Evans Schultes.
The late Professor Richard Evans Schultes is a renowned and accomplished ethnobnotanist. He is also an accomplished plant taxonomist and bioprospector, who focused on narcotic and hallucinogenic plants.I was initiated into a bioprospecting career by Professor Schultes early in my graduate years at Harvard. The highlight of my career as a bioprospector was when I received in 1986 a contract with the US National Cancer Institute, on behalf of the University of Illinois at Chicago, to explore Southeast Asian plant diversity to collect plants for anticancer and anti-HIV screening, as part of the revival of the NCI's new plant screening program. This contract was renewed every 5 years through 2004. A major contribution that resulted from this exploration program was the discovery by the NCI of the anti-HIV compounds, the calanolides, isolated from species of Calophyllum collected in Sarawak, Malaysia.Calanolides were licensed to an Illinois-based pharmaceutical company for development as a drug to treat AIDS. The discovery of the calanolides also led to an important turning point in the biodiversity conservation and bioprospecting laws of the government of Sarawak,with the establishment of the Sarawak Biodiversity Centre (SBC) in 1998. While this NCI contract was still on-going, a multidisciplinary team of botanists,ethnobotanists, natural product chemists, biochemist,economists,biotechnologists, and attorneys, under my leadership, was awarded an ICBG Grant to study the biodiversity of Vietnamand Laos.The goals of this program are to discover new bioactive compounds as potential candidates for development into pharmaceuticals for therapy against cancer,AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis and, at the same time, to promote the conservation of the biodiversity of Vietnam and Laos, as well as to advance community economic standings in the study areas. Our ICBG project is stillon-going to this date. It has been a great privilege and honor to be a student of Professor Schultes and to inherit and to push on his legacy in the study of medicinal plants.
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1 - College of Pharmacy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, 833 S. Wood St., Chicago, IL, 60612, USA
Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Location: Maryland Room/Chase Park Plaza
Date: Tuesday, July 12th, 2011
Time: 9:15 AM