Of the nearly 400,000 plants on Earth, around 28,000 of them are used in traditional medicine. Each plant tissue is rich in secondary metabolites: a chemical language that allows plants to communicate with other organisms in their ecosystem, defend themselves from harm, and entice pollinators and seed dispersers. Our guest speaker will discuss how this language impacts human pathogens, including antibiotic resistant bacteria, and how these may be leveraged to fuel the development of new medical therapies in the future.
Dr. Cassandra Quave is Curator of the Emory University Herbarium and Assistant Professor of Dermatology and Human Health at Emory University, where she leads antibiotic drug discovery research initiatives and teaches undergraduate courses on medicinal plants, food and health. Trained as a medical ethnobotanist, her research focuses on the documentation and biochemical analysis of botanical remedies used in the traditional treatment of infectious and inflammatory skin disease. To date, she has authored more than 60 publications, 2 edited books and 6 patents. Dr. Quave is a Past President of the President of the Society for Economic Botany, an international society with the mission of fostering research and education on the past, present, and future uses of plants by people. Her work has been profiled in the New York Times Magazine, BBC Focus and National Geographic Channel, and featured on NPR, National Geographic Magazine and several major news outlets including the Washington Post, The Telegraph, CBS News, and NBC News. Her science memoir, The Plant Hunter, is expected to release in late 2020 with Viking Press/ Penguin Random House.