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Center Projects and Cores

Botanical Research Center | Collaborative Structure Heading link

The Center was composed of three Projects and four Cores, which engaged in interdisciplinary and synergistic interactions. While each project had its own focus…

  • Project 1: plant metabolome and botanical standardization studies
  • Project 2: studies on the impact of botanicals on cellular resilience
  • Project 3: in vitro and in vivo botanical metabolism and safety studies

…the results of each research project informed the research direction of the other projects. These activities were supported by cores…

  • Core A: administrative
  • Core B: botanical
  • Core C: bioassay
  • Core D: analytical

….that served the entire Center by providing previously established methods, which had been developed by the respective projects since the initial project period (1999-2005). Generally, the Cores B/C/D evolved from Projects 1/2/3, respectively, and were established as such in the second granting period (2005-2010). Core A provided not only administrative support, but also was actively involved in the dissemination of Center outcomes and the coordination with the work of other BRCs within NCCIH’s project portfolio.

This environment has encouraged the work of postdoctoral fellows and graduate students who eventually took their research experience with the UIC Botanical Center to academia, industry, and government settings. Thus, the BRC has been training and nurturing the next generation of botnical natural products scientists.  Our trainees have always adapted a commitment to safety and emphasis on healthy outcomes to the development of botanical dietary supplements in the variety of workplace environments in which they find their employment.

Botanical Research Center | Development of Dietary Supplements Heading link

The UIC Botanical Center operates according to the philosophy that all botanical dietary supplements must be derived from authentic plant material and undergo both chemical and biological standardization and be safe.

Prior to being studied in a clinical trial, botanicals must undergo intense scientific scrutiny using basic science methodology before being tested in humans. Center scientists employ scientific testing procedures using sophisticated techniques and instrumentation. The development of suitable standardization processes can take a long time, and their application to specific candidate products can still take several months to complete.

First botanicals must undergo botanical verification. Next, botanicals are evaluated chemically for the identification of specific compounds (Project 1 and Core B), which are further evaluated to determine their biological activity (Project 2 and Core C). When botanicals can be characterized both chemically and biologically, then their metabolic pathways and safety are further investigated (Project 3 and Core D). All of this is done in advance of testing in humans to assure that botanicals being tested are verified, standardized and show beneficial activity without toxicity.