Freshman Scholars Program 2013

The Production of Biologically Active Compounds by Medicinal Plants of the Appalachian Mountains

Instructor:  Laura Grochowski, Ph.D.


Project Description:

Up to two students interested in chemistry, biochemistry, pharmacy, or biology.

Students will have the opportunity to explore aspects of natural product production by medicinal plants native to the Appalachian Mountains. Chemical and instrumental methods of analysis will be employed to study the production of biologically active compounds produced by native plant species. Focus will be on the production of sanguinarine by the native plant species Sanguinaria canadensis, also known as Bloodroot. Sanguinarine has been found to have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties and has also been shown to have antiproliferative properties against cancer cell lines, suggesting the potential development of sanguinarine as an anti-cancer drug. As a native Appalachian plant species, the development of the active component would create a significant demand for S. canadensis as an agricultural crop with positive economic implications for the rural Appalachian regions.



Laura Grochowski, Ph.D.

Dr. Laura Grochowski obtained a Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry from Oregon State University where she studied antibiotic biosynthesis in soil and marine organisms. She then moved on to a post-doctoral position at Virginia Tech where she focused on the biosynthesis of coenzymes involved in the biological production of methane.

If you have specific questions about this project, please contact Dr. Grochowski directly at LGrochowski@ferrum.edu.

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