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About the Lab

Drug Discovery From Natural Products

There is a misconception out there that "chemicals" are inherently bad or dangerous, and that "natural medicines" are better and safer. Some natural chemicals are safe, and others are not. Some synthetic chemicals are dangerous, and others are not. A nice visual breakdown can be found online at Compound Interest.

In fact, a vast number of clinically used "Western" drugs are actually chemicals that came from nature. Nature makes the molecules, and our lab works to discover what is there and how we can put it to use for improving human health. Sometimes that includes needing to make structural modifications, and sometimes it does not.

Natural chemicals provide fantastic starting points for drug development to treat pretty much all types of diseases. These chemicals are produced by plants, including those used in traditional medicines, or soil and aquatic or marine bacteria, also free-living or symbiotic fungi, and ocean-growing algae. Our lab is particularly focused on finding new leads for treating cancers, infectious parasitic diseases, and neurological disorders.

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