Pharmacy hosts 50th Annual Meeting of the Phytochemical Society of North America

December 4, 2011

Nearly 500 scientists who specialize in researching chemical compounds that occur naturally in plants will visit the Big Island December 10-15 for a conference hosted by the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo College of Pharmacy.

The Phytochemical Society of North America holds its 50th Anniversary meeting on the Kohala Coast. The program includes 13 general symposia that explores the use of natural products in a multitude of topics, including metabolism, agriculture, drug discovery and cancer chemoprevention.

“We’ve attracted scholars from at least 18 countries and 32 states, some of whom have never visited the Big Island so I’m looking forward to giving them a sample of why we are called a living laboratory,” Dean John Pezzuto said. “Their research will change global health care, and the importance of their contributions cannot be overstated. But we’re hoping they will allow some time to enjoy the aloha in Hawaiʻi as well.”

Pezzuto, who is credited for the discovery of anticancer activity of resveratrol in red grapes and grape products such as red wine, will be one of the featured speakers. Other speakers include Her Royal Highness Chulabhorn Mahidol, princess of Thailand and president of Chulabhorn Graduate Institute, who has a doctorate in science from Mahidol University in Thailand, as well as experts from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), members of the US National Academy of Sciences, and other renowned scientists.

Research on recognizable products such as blueberries, ginseng, ginger, tomatoes and teas will be presented, along with less common substances blue Anigozanthos root culture and liverworts. Other research delves into studying biosynthesis and bioactive compounds.

“It’s an honor to associate with these dedicated researchers, who work long days and nights all in the name of science,” Pezzuto said. “Much of the work presented here has one goal, and that is help people and their families avoid the disastrous domino effect of diseases such as cancer and diabetes.”

The Phytochemical Society of North America has a mission to encourage and stimulate research in the chemistry and biochemistry of plant constituents, their effects upon plant and animal physiology and pathology, and their industrial importance and utilization.

The meeting is being organized by the UH Hilo Conference Center.

See more news from 2011.