Susan Murch’s research measures medicinal potential of plant tissues
Susan Murch, Canada Research Chair in Natural Products Chemistry and associate professor of chemistry with the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences at UBC’s Okanagan campus, has been awarded an infrastructure project grant of $309,437 by the Canada Foundation for Innovation.
The grant will be used to acquire two specialized pieces of equipment for scientific analysis: a tissue culture chamber and a mass spectrometer system.
Murch’s plant secondary metabolism analytical research team focuses on the potential of plants to produce components of pharmaceutical drugs for such things as cancer treatment and natural health products.
“More than 25 per cent of prescription pharmaceuticals are derived from plants and the potential of this rich resource is immense, as only about one per cent of the medicines used in traditional cultures have been scientifically evaluated,” Murch says.
The majority of plant components that are potentially useful for pharmaceutical development are not required for plant growth, development or reproduction and are known as secondary metabolites.
“Investigation of plant secondary metabolism leads to new modern drugs, traditional medicine, nutrients, cosmetics, industrial chemicals, allergens, and may even lead to new understandings of the causes of chronic and acute disease,” Murch says.
According to Health Canada, more than 70 per cent of Canadians report using some form of natural health product, and there are between 3,000 and 5,000 plants currently sold in Canada as raw materials for an estimated 40,000 products.
Information about this and other awards from the Canada Foundation for Innovation can be found at:
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