Archive for the ‘News & Announcements’ Category

Spearheading New Opportunities at NCCIH and NIH

Thursday, April 30th, 2015
 Dear Colleagues:  Given the re-organization of NCCAM to NCCIH and their current attention to their strategic planning, Ed Eisenstein and I thought it might be opportune to reach out to the Program Managers and staff at NCCIH to encourage additional/new funding mechanisms for foundational plant science research that would expand the pipeline for translational directions with botanicals. We sought input on how our research community collectively felt about this notion in a call with a small but broad group on March 30, 2015.  Many expressed strong support for pursuing this effort.   Hence, our next step was to seek a 2-hour meeting with NCCIH and other NIH staff to showcase the enabling potential of basic research on medicinal plants, as well as examples of how great science opens new doors of opportunity for botanicals and human health. The response from Craig Hopp, Ph.D., Program Director, Division of Extramural Research, NCCIH and others within and outside NCCIH has been very affirming, and we are happy to report that we are now scheduled for a meeting May 19th at the NCCIH facilities in Bethesda, Maryland.  

Specifics for our interview at NCCIH:
Time: May 19th, 10 a.m. to noon
Place: National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, National Institutes of Health, 6707 Democracy Blvd., Bethesda, MD 20892-2182
Who will attend: Craig Hopp, Ph.D., Program Director, Division of Extramural Research, NCCIH; John Williamson, Ph.D., Branch Chief, Basic and Mechanistic Research in Complementary and Integrative Health, Division of Extramural Research, NCCIH; Josephine P. Briggs, M.D., Director of NCCIH; Barbara Gerrantana, Ph.D., Program Director, Division of Pharmacology, Physiology, and Biological Chemistry, NIGMS; plus others.
Agenda: Four 20-minute presentations and roundtable discussion by representatives of our research community, which we refer to as the Medicinal Plant Consortium (MPC). The first presentation will relay a story of how our basic science understandings have translated into success(es) for botanical/nutraceutical utilization presented by Joe Noel, Salk Institute. Three illustrative vignettes capturing community-wide technologies/capabilities creating new knowledge bases and opening new exploratory vistas will follow: Computational/Informatics by Robin Buell, Michigan State University; Analytics by Basil Nikolau, Iowa State University; and Systems/Synthetic Biology by Dan Voytas, University of Minnesota. Our presenters will be accompanied by additional MPC Ambassadors: Toni Kutchan, Danforth Plant Science Center; Elli Wurtzel, The City University of New York; Ed Eisenstein, University of Maryland; Joe Chappell, University of Kentucky.
Outcomes: Our visit will be followed by the submission of a 2-page white paper that we hope NCCIH would find useful for their strategic planning process. The white paper would be due probably the first of June 2015.
Follow- up:
Can you endorse our activities? We have been asking members of our research community to endorse these activities by providing some indication of their support. The easiest way is a simple email response indicating your level of support and interest in this effort. If you care to add a few words about your research area, that too would be helpful to communicate to the NIH officials. We would also appreciate receiving the names of others who should be contacted concerning this effort.
Provide inputs: We are also soliciting from you content to be captured in our oral presentations would be appreciated – a slide or even a citation to something in the literature – anything that you think supports our position that strong, fundamental research paves the way for plant sciences to impact human health. You may send it directly to Joe Chappell who will forward it to the appropriate presenter. A note such as overarching, computational, analytics, or systems biology would be helpful as well.
The desired outcome of seeing new funding mechanisms for plant science will take time and continuous prodding from a unified research community. Hence, your continued engagement and support is essential. We understand how busy everyone is and will do our best to limit our emails and solicitations, but your agreement to support this effort is essential now. Please let us know if we can count on you as part of the MPC team.  
Very sincerely,
Joe Chappell and Ed Eisenstein

Nominations of Candidates for Award of the Varro E. Tyler Prize for 2016

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

The Varro E. Tyler Prize is to recognize an individual who has made outstanding scientific contributions to the broad field of dietary supplements, with special emphasis on botanicals. The contributions should be in an area of phytochemistry, pharmacognosy, or pharmacology. Notable contributions to botanical studies outside these primary areas of emphasis, including, for example, clinical investigations, may also be eligible for consideration.

Nominations of candidates for the award of the Tyler Prize for 2016 should be submitted to the Chair of the Selection Committee, Dr. Chantal Bergeron ( by May 31, 2015. No special nomination form is required, but the nomination should include a letter outlining the candidate’s significant contributions to the field and a detailed curriculum vitae of the nominee, including a complete listing of publications. Reprints of 2-3 significant papers may be included. Other types of supporting documents that may be listed are books, unpublished speeches, patents, and the like. Up to two supporting letters may also be submitted on behalf of a candidate/nominee. Membership in the ASP is not a requirement for consideration, nor is eligibility restricted on the basis of nationality. For further information, please refer to

Varro E. Tyler Prize Committee

Natural Products Grants from NIH

Thursday, April 9th, 2015

NIH has posted some RFA announcements that are of interest to the natural products community. Specific details on each proposal focus and award mechanism can be found at (Phased Innovation Award in Exploratory Clinical Trials and Studies of Natural Products in NCCIH High Priority Research Topics R21/R33), (Exploratory Clinical Trials and Studies of Natural Products in NCCIH High Priority Research Topics, R33), (Methods Development in Natural Products Chemistry, R43/R44), and (Methods Development in Natural Products Chemistry, R41/R42).


1st International Conference on Natural Products for Cancer Prevention and Therapy, Istanbul, Turkey, August 31 – September 2, 2015

Friday, March 13th, 2015; This global event will feature plenary, key and short lectures, poster presentations, and various social activities. It is expected that a large number of scientists and faculty members from various universities, research institutes and industries from different parts of the world will present and discuss the value of natural substances in preventing and managing cancer. Faculty of Pharmacy, Erciyes University, Kayseri, Turkey, Dr. Anupam Bishayee, Co-Chair.

2014 ASP Election

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

The election of the American Society of Pharmacognosy is under way (March 1-31, 2015). A call for ballots is being sent to active members by email. Positions on the ballot include Vice-President and  a member of the Executive Committee. In addition, several proposed changes to the society Constitution will be decided. Any problems with the balloting should be sent to the Webmaster, John R. Porter,