PHCI Director, Guido Pauli, Receives ABC Norman R. Farnsworth Excellence in Botanical Research Award
Press Release from the American Botanical Council (ABC)
AUSTIN, Texas (March 29, 2022) — The American Botanical Council (ABC) recently presented the 2022 ABC Norman R. Farnsworth Excellence in Botanical Research Award to Guido F. Pauli, PhD, a Distinguished Professor at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) and the Norman R. Farnsworth Professor of Pharmacognosy at the UIC College of Pharmacy.
ABC presents the annual award, named in honor of the internationally respected professor Norman R. Farnsworth, PhD (1930–2011), to an individual who has made significant research contributions in the fields of pharmacognosy (the study of drugs of natural origin, usually from plants), ethnobotany, ethnopharmacology, or other scientific disciplines related to medicinal plants. Farnsworth was a widely published and internationally renowned research professor of pharmacognosy, a senior university scholar in the UIC College of Pharmacy, and one of the founding members of ABC’s Board of Trustees.
Pauli expressed his appreciation for receiving the award. “Receiving the ABC Farnsworth research award is particularly special, as ABC and its community share the same passion for plants that has driven and continues to drive my research,” he said. “The joint goal of enhancing the quality of botanicals for the benefit of human health is another connection that makes this award special for me.” He added: “Having worked closely and developed a very friendly personal relationship with Norman Farnsworth during my first decade at UIC, being connected to him and his legacy through this award is just wonderful.”
Pauli has belonged to the UIC College of Pharmacy since 2001, when he joined the faculty as a Research Associate Professor in the Institute for Tuberculosis Research (ITR). He became an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy in 2002 and advanced to the rank of Professor in 2012. Pauli was named the Norman R. Farnsworth Professor of Pharmacognosy in 2017 and became a UIC Distinguished Professor in 2019. He is also the Associate Director of ITR and the Director of the UIC Pharmacognosy Institute, which evolved from the former Program for Collaborative Research in the Pharmaceutical Sciences (PCRPS), an internationally renowned research center for the study of biologically active natural products.
Pauli explained that his research focuses on innovating methodology for botanical quality control and enhancing collaborative botanical research. “I think that such contributions can be significant for advancing botanicals in general,” he said.
“In my experience, the best products in daily life are created by the combination of two things: inquisitive minds and sense for quality,” Pauli continued. “This highlights the importance of doing botanical research and driving innovation for the future — and explains why I find this ABC research award truly encouraging.”
Among Pauli’s most impactful research activities are investigations into the usefulness of quantitative nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), a laboratory method used to analyze natural products such as botanical extracts. He also has assessed the residual complexity of plant extracts and isolated compounds by chemical and biological methods, as well as the usefulness of centrifugal partition chromatography (CPC) as a separation technique for natural products. As Co-director and later Director of the UIC Center for Botanical Dietary Supplements Research, he was instrumental in the identification of the constituents responsible for the estrogenic (and other) activities of hops (Humulus lupulus), red clover (Trifolium pratense), and licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra, G. uralensis). His most recent publication, co-authored with a group of fellow researchers from UIC and the University of Chicago, investigated the effects of cannabidiol (CBD) on SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in human lung cells and mice and found that CBD had a significant negative effect on the virus’s replication. The results of this widely reported research collaboration were published in the reputable scientific journal Science Advances.
“There is no question in my mind that, if Prof. Farnsworth were still alive today, he would wholeheartedly support ABC’s decision to grant this eponymous award to Prof. Pauli,” said Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director of ABC.
Stefan Gafner, PhD, ABC’s chief science officer, said: “I have always been impressed by the high quality of Guido Pauli’s scientific research. His hard work, passion for medicinal plants, and commitment to scientific excellence have made him one of the most prominent natural products researchers in North America at this time.”
Past recipients of the ABC Farnsworth award include Paula N. Brown, PhD (2020); Rachel Mata, PhD (2019); Otto Sticher, PhD (2018), Raphael Mechoulam, PhD (2017); Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, PhD (2016); John T. Arnason, PhD (2015); Harry Fong, PhD (2014); Gordon Cragg, PhD (2013); De-An Guo, PhD (2012); Doel Djaja Soejarto, PhD (2011); A. Douglas Kinghorn, PhD (2010); Rudolf Bauer, PhD (2009); Ikhlas Khan, PhD (2008); Hildebert Wagner, PhD (2007); Edzard Ernst, MD, PhD (2006); and Joseph Betz, PhD (2005).
The award was presented at the 17th annual ABC Celebration and Botanical Excellence Awards ceremony on March 9, 2022, in Anaheim, California. The event, for ABC Sponsor Members, occurred during Natural Products Expo West.
The ABC Celebration was underwritten by the generous support of the following ABC Sponsor Members in the United States and international botanical market: Alkemist Labs, Amin Talati Wasserman LLP, Applied Food Sciences, Brassica Protection Products, ChromaDex, Euromed, EuroPharma, Herbalife, Horphag Research, Indena USA, Informa, MegaFood, Natural Factors, New Chapter, NOW Foods, PlusPharma, RFI, RT Specialty, UNPA, and Verdure Sciences.