Medicinal Plants Researcher to Speak February 21

This photo shows a young white woman in a white lab coat and purple lab gloves. She is seated with some plant specimens next to her and some lab equipment in the background.
Cassandra Quave is curator of the Emory University Herbarium and assistant professor of Dermatology and Human Health at Emory University. Photo credit: Ann Watson

Hearing that a loved one has MRSA is never good news. MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is just one of many antibiotic-resistant pathogens threatening human health today. For some researchers, a dive into history is providing hope.

Cassandra Quave is one of these researchers, and she’ll be sharing her research with a talk at Virginia Tech. Quave, assistant professor in Dermatology and Human Health at Emory University and curator of the Emory University Herbarium, will be on campus in late February to discuss her research on centuries-old knowledge and modern-day health care.

Her talk, “Medicinal Plants as a Resource for Drug Discovery in the Post-Antibiotic Era,” is scheduled for 12:20 p.m. Friday, February 21, in the Fralin Auditorium. Part of the Life Science Seminar Series, Quave’s visit is co-hosted by the Massey Herbarium and the Center for Communicating Science.

Quave will discuss how the review of historic texts from different eras, cultures, and languages leads her to evaluate specific plants and formulations for the treatment of infectious disease. Traditional medicine uses some 28,000 plant species, many of which also are used in modern pharmacology. Quave’s research team is using a 17th Century text, Historia Naturalis Brasiliae, to inform their investigation of the use of Schinus terebinthifolia, or Brazilian pepper tree, against the pathogen Staphylococcus aureus. A 16th Century Chinese text, Ben Cao Gang Mu, is being used by her group to learn about Ginkgo biloba and its medicinal properties. These projects and others will be part of her talk.

Quave’s lecture is open to the public free of charge.



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