Botanical Center Training
Trainee Program & Resources Heading link
Serving as an academic training center, the Botanical Research Center has been educating the next generation of individuals interested in botanicals dietary supplements and related natural products. By supporting the development of doctorate-level scientists who are knowledgeable in plant biology, chemistry, pharmacology, and their application in human health, the Center makes a meaningful contribution to the greater field of Pharmacognosy, as part of the mission of the Pharmacognosy Institute.
Training resources include top-tier research laboratories and highly experienced mentors with a passion for research and education in plant-derived natural health products. One core value of the training mission at the Botanical Center is the concept of collaborative and interdisciplinary research: working in highly coordinated teams with multiple expertise is a requirement for transformative findings and the achievement of progress in addressing the many challenging questions of botanical efficacy and safety.
Trainees matriculate into the Botanical Center as graduate students through College of Pharmacy Graduate Programs that provide opportunities for those interested in developing a career in the disciplines related to botanical dietary supplements. Since its foundation in 1999, the Botanical Center has graduate over 50 PhDs and trained over 20 postdoctoral scientists. The highly diverse Center’s alumni have moved on to a gamut of careers in the dietary supplement and pharmaceutical industry, in regulatory and governmental entities, pharmacopoeia, education and academia, as well as have founded independent operations.
Training Grant Heading link
Since 2013, the Botanical Center has been associated with an NIH-funded T32 training program administrated in the Department Pharmaceutical Sciences (PSCI), which offers multidisciplinary training opportunities for PhD students. This T32 training grant also supports graduate students working in the Botanical Center. The NIH training grant 5T32AT007533, entitled Research Training in Natural Product Complementary and Integrative Health, is led by Drs. Guido Pauli (Contact PI) and Jimmy Orjala as CoPIs/PDs. It is funded by the the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). Training grant objectives emphasize interdisciplinary collaborative research and incorporate the College of Pharmacy’s graduate programs.
Unique Training Resources Heading link
Several resources have been supporting the UIC Botanical Center in offering trainees access to state-of-the art equipment and resources as well as a unique medicinal plant research garden for researching natural products. These resources consist of the Botanical Core, the Analytical Core, and the Atkins Botanical Garden.
Botanical Core Resources
Directed by Drs. Guido Pauli and Shao-Nong Chen, the Botanical Integrity Core of the UIC Botanical Center has both the instrumentation and expertise to source botanical materials locally and worldwide, as well as analyze their integrity using state-of-the-art methodology. Working with reputable suppliers and experts in the field, the Botanical Integrity Core has been sourcing raw materials and extracts of botanical dietary supplements, providing materials from the gram scale for experimental investigations to the multi-kg scale for clinical studies. Pharmacognostic analysis of raw materials utilizes macroscopic and microscopic analysis including electron microscopy, DNA barcoding techniques developed in the Botanical Integrity Core including New Genome Sequencing in collaboration with UIC’s RRC, as well as ultra-high performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) fingerprinting methodology for the evaluation of the complex metabolomic patterns contained in the botanicals. The Botanical Integrity Core has pioneered the establishment of Botanical Integrity Dossiers (BPIDs), which represent comprehensive compilations of analytical evidence that supports the reproducibility of all subsequent studies carried out in the Botanical Center.
Another area of expertise provided by the Botanical Integrity Core relates to the provision and quality assurance of purified natural products and reference materials, which serve as standardization markers and are important materials for the biological studies in the Botanical Center. To this end, we utilize UHPLC, LC/GC-MS, and 1D/2D NMR methods for unambiguous identification. Our Core has unique expertise in quantitative NMR (qNMR) for orthogonal purity analysis of the reference materials, as well as in quantum mechanics-based NMR fingerprinting (HiFSA methodology) for the dereplication of marker compounds.
Analytical Core Resources
Under the direction of Dr. van Breemen and Dr. Dejan Nikolic, the Analytical Core of the UIC Botanical Center features the Chicago Mass Spectrometry laboratory, which is an exceptionally well-equipped biomedical mass spectrometry facility. Supporting also the campus-wide Research Resources Center and the University of Illinois Cancer Center, this facility is equipped with 14 mass spectrometers that include 7 triple quadrupole mass spectrometers for quantitative analysis, a quadrupole mass spectrometer, a linear ion trap mass spectrometer for MSn studies, QqToF and ion trap-ToF hybrid mass spectrometers for high resolution tandem mass spectrometry, MALDI time-of-flight (ToF) mass spectrometry for proteomics, and high resolution Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance and Orbitrap mass spectrometers for MSn proteomics and metabolomics studies. Except for the dedicated MALDI mass spectrometer, all of these instruments are equipped with electrospray, atmospheric pressure chemical ionization and/or atmospheric pressure photoionization as well as HPLC or UHPLC for on-line separations.
The Analytical Core works closely with the Research Resources Center of UIC (a campus-wide shared resource) for proteomics and metabolomics studies. Established in part by a grant from The Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust to the Chicago Biomedical Consortium, the proteomics component of the laboratory provides many types of mass spectrometry measurements including qualitative and quantitative analysis, protein identification, post-translational modification identification, quantitative proteomics using iTRAQ and AQUA, quantitative metabolomics, molecular mass determination, and data analysis. Informatics tools include Mascot, MassMatrix, SEQUEST, and specialty search engine software to identify proteins and post-translational modifications.
Complementing these biomedical mass spectrometry facilities and available to the Analytical Core of the UIC Botanical Center are other high-end instrumentation provided through the Research Resources Center and the Center for Structural Biology such as genomics resources, electron microscopy, and 400, 600, 800, and 900 MHz NMR. Available to support our translational studies are outstanding clinical facilities at the adjacent University of Illinois Hospital and Clinics such as an NIH-funded Center for Clinical and Translational Science.
Atkins Research Garden
The Atkins Garden is not only a ready source of a large variety of plant species for education and research but also offers an island of beauty and tranquility on a busy campus.
The first generation of Botanical Center Trainees Heading link
The first generation of Botanical Center Trainees were snapped in North Carolina Botanical Garden. They were led by Norman Farnsworth, the director of Botanical Center to visit Research Triangle Institute (RTI) in 2000. From left to right: Gail B. Mahady (Faculty), Daniel Fabrant, Joanna Burdette, Nancy L. Booth, Allison Turner, Colleen Pierson (Center Coordinator), Lucas Chadwick, Holly Johnson, Stephanie M. Schlecht, Jianghua Liu (Post-doc).
Training Alumni Heading link
|First Name||Last Name||Country||City||Currrent Affiliation||Years|
|Stephanie M.||(Schlecht) Tokarczyk||USA||Winnetka||Capstone Development Services Co. LLC||1999-2002|
|Shixin||Deng||USA||Lehi||Morinda (Tahitian Noni International)||2000-2005|
|Nancy||Booth||USA||Bethesda||Alkista Botanicals (Self-employed), Scientific & Regulatory Liaision (Freelance)||1999-2005|
|Daniel||Fabricant||USA||Washington DC||Natural Products Association||1998-2005|
|Holly||Johnson||USA||Silver Spring||American Herbal Pharmacopoeia||1997-2007|
|Feng||Qiu||USA||New York City||International Flavors & Fragrances||2008-2013|
|Rene F||Ramos||USA||New York City||Zymergen||2008-2014|
|Andreas||Schinkovitz||Austria||Angers||Universite of Angers||2008-2012|
|Charlotte||Simmler||France||Marseille||French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS)||2015-2019|
|Daniel||Kulakowski||USA||Takoma Park||Green Analytics||2014-2017|
|Cassia Rose||Overk||USA||San Diego||University of California||2002-2007|
|Sharla L.||White (Powell)||USA||San Francisco Bay Area||ClearLight Biotechnologies||2004-2009|
|Coutrney (Snelten)||Civik||USA||Elgin||Northgate Technologies||2010-2013|
|Jianghua||Liu||USA||Los Angeles Area||expert pharmaceutical (self-employed)||1999-2001|
|Tewolde Siele||Tewolde||USA||Flemington||PTC Therapeutics||2005-2010|
|Muriel||Cuendet||Switzerland||Geneva||University of Geneva||2000-2004|
|Johann||Sohn||South Korea||Hyundai Bioland||2005-2009|
|Benjamin M.||Johnson||USA||Cambridge||Bristol Myers Squibb||1999-2003|
|Jinghu (Carl)||Li||USA||San Francisco Bay Area||ORIC Pharmaceuticals||2005-2010|
|Hongmei (Karen)||Cao||USA||Cambridge||Alnylam Pharmaceuticals||2005-2010|
|Ke||Huang||China||Shanghai||WuXi Biologics HealthCare Venture||2008-2017|
|Guangnan||Li||USA||San Francisco Bay Area||Agilent||2009-2016|
|Lingyi||Huang||USA||San Francisco Bay Area||MedImmune/AstraZeneca||2012-2017|
|Michael||Rush||USA||Salt Lake City||Edwards Lifesciences||2012-2017|