Pacific health research postdoctoral fellowship (2018 funding round)

Ms Victoria Woolner
Victoria University of Wellington
Pasifika medicinal plants: Elucidating the science behind the tradition
36 months

Lay summary

Pasifika people use traditional medicine to maintain their health and wellbeing. Medicinal plants have been the source of pharmaceuticals in modern medicine, but new Māori and Pacific medicinal plants as a source of new drug leads has not been realised. Here we aim to purify an anti-inflammatory iron-chlelator that we previously identified in a Samoan traditional medicinal plant and evaluate the utility of the compound in treating diseases of interest in the Pacific, such as Alzheimer disease, cancer, tuberculosis, obesity, and diabetes. As this study on one medicinal plant is so promising, we also aim to use bioactivity-guided fractionation to screen medicinal plants from New Zealand, Samoa, and the Cook Islands for novel compounds. Together these results will provide the greatest insight into the chemistry and biology of Pacific traditional medicine investigated by a woman of Pasifika descent.

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