We cover all aspects of research into ‘drugs from natural sources’, most importantly medicinal plants, but also fungi and marine organisms. This is globally a very important field of research and its importance has also been highlighted by the award of the 2015 Nobel Prize to Youyou Tu for the discovery of artemisinin and William C. Campbell and Satoshi Ōmura for their discoveries of a novel treatment of roundworm parasites – avermectin from Gram-positive soil bacteria. While not too many groups are active in the UK, we are part of a very active global network and these linkages are of importance both for industry and academia.
The Focus Group provides a network of researchers interested in the field of drugs from natural sources and we want to facilitate not only an exchange of knowledge within the pharmaceutical sciences, but also beyond in areas like biology, chemistry and ecology. Most of us are based at universities and we welcome anyone interested in the field.
Plants and other organisms are a fascinating topic for research, the chemical diversity they have created is unprecedented and cannot be achieved by any human endeavour. Importantly, access to such resources and benefit sharing puts a unique responsibility on natural product researchers and we are part of a large group of researchers engaged with ascertaining such best practice.
I qualified as a pharmacist in 2012 and have kept my registration and continue to practice as a community pharmacist. I completed my PhD at De Montfort University in the department of Biomolecular Technology where I investigated the use of herbal medicines by diasporic South Asian communities in the UK, using both qualitative methodologies and biological science techniques (DNA barcoding). In 2016 I joined the Clinical and Professional Practice group at the Medway School of Pharmacy as a Lecturer in Pharmacy Clinical and Professional Practice. My research interests include: exploring the use of traditional herbal medicines by migrant communities in the UK; the use of complementary and alternative medicines in Parkinson’s disease and exploring healthcare professionals’ perceptions of herbal medicines. Furthermore, I am also working on a project looking at the role of clinical pharmacists screening for atrial fibrillation in general practice. As a new researcher/ academic I would like to be a co-chair for the Focus Group as i have not had such an opportunity working alongside Michael Heinrich who was my PhD supervisor. He has always encouraged me to take part in such events and is a great role model to develop my research carer. The topic we have proposed “Challenges in the medical use of plant extracts – regulation, formulation and medical claims” encompasses areas my research has focused on and about which I am highly enthusiastic.
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