The Center for the Study of Human Health is committed to conducting interdisciplinary work that bridges the gap between basic science research and the health of individuals and populations. Medical ethnobotany is the study of how people use plants for medicinal purposes, with the Laboratory for Human Health specifically translating botanical knowledge gathered from individuals across the globe into what one day will be readily-availble treatments for infectious pathogens, such as Staphylococcus aureus.  In the face of widespread antibiotic resistance, novel therapies are a critical necessity. The goal of this work is the discovery and development of "new drugs" from "old remedies", which will contribute to the overall betterment of human health.

Dr. Cassandra L. Quave leads these efforts through her specific study of the traditional medical practices of the Mediterranean. These studies have covered the domains of medicinal foods to anti-infective remedies. In the lab, plant materials are extracted and their chemicals are submitted to a battery of bioassays in the search for novel drugs. Most recently, this work has resulted in the discovery of new biofilm inhibitors from the elmleaf blackberry for the treatment of multi-drug resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection. Exciting drug discovery research on these and other natural products is currently underway.


Visit Dr. Quave's faculty research page for more detailed information about her work. Students who are interested in ethnobotany are encouraged to take courses offered by the Center. 

Dr. Cassandra L. Quave

Medical Ethnobotany & Drug Discovery

Using traditional Mediterranean medicinal plants, Dr. Quave's research is on the cutting-edge of drug discovery techniques to prevent the development of biofilms in Staph infections.

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Origins of Health

Through the Center, discover the population- and mechanistic evidence demonstrating that lifespan health has early origins.

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