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GCA Scholarships Recipients


2023 Guadalupe Maldonado Andrade

The Anne S. Chatham Fellowship in Medicinal Botany
School: PhD candidate in Plant Biology, University of California, Riverside

Investigation of Abortifacient Plant Use in Michoacán, Mexico

Andrade’s research will investigate the taxonomic, sociocultural, and biochemical dimensions of plant-based abortions in Michoacán, Mexico. Samples of plants reported to be used will be collected, and chemical fingerprinting to evaluate potential toxicity will be conducted. Interviews will shed light on the social and cultural dimensions of abortifacient plants. Interviews will be conducted with populations within Michoacan and populations that migrated to California to investigate if the use of plant-based abortions is influenced by the legal standing of abortion.


2023 Preston Manwill

The Anne S. Chatham Fellowship in Medicinal Botany
School: Postdoctoral associate in Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of North Carolina Greensboro

Potential Herb-Drug Interactions of Kratom and Substitute Species

Manwill’s preliminary studies of kratom products in the US found three chemotypes, including alkaloid profiles different from any reported in literature. Manwill will use analytical chemistry techniques, enzymatic herb-drug interactions assays, and multivariate statistics to identify distinct chemical profiles and link them to specific metabolism modulating actions. Research will increase understanding of the diverse pharmacological potential of kratom products and may contribute to their safe use by consumers.


2023 Kirk Lawson Lawson

The Anne S. Chatham Fellowship in Medicinal Botany
School: PhD candidate in Phytochemical and Environmental Studies, The Pennsylvania State University

Zanthoxylum americanum: Phytochemical and Environmental Analysis and Correlation

Lawson will study the fruit of the American species of the toothache tree to determine its efficacy as an herbal medicine. Lawson will correlate habitat factors with secondary metabolites with known bioactivity including antifungal, antibiotic, anticancer, and numbing pain-relief compounds. Chemical content, geographic variability, and expansion of culinary and medical uses will be researched to assess the dried fruit’s potential as an income source and alternative agroforestry crop.

2022 Kenya DeBarros

The Anne S. Chatham Fellowship in Medicinal Botany

MoMo30: A Plant-Based Potential Therapeutic for COVID-19

DeBarros will use biochemistry, molecular biology, virology, and cell biology to investigate a potential antiviral treatment for COVID-19. DeBarros’s research will focus on MoMo30, a protein derived from Momordica balsamina (Senegalese bitter melon) that has been used for centuries by traditional African healers to treat viral infections. In collaboration with PROmotion of MEdicine and TReatment from Africa (PROMETRA), DeBarros will study MoMo30’s ability to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection in cell culture in efforts to discover new treatment strategies for COVID-19.

2022 Tori Rosen

The Anne S. Chatham Fellowship in Medicinal Botany

Characterizing and Optimizing Medicinal Pigment Production in Amaranthus L. Species

Rosen will focus on the nutritionally dense, culturally preferred leafy green amaranth and its introduction into American agriculture. Combining marketing and field research with an analysis of its unique antioxidant betalain pigments, Rosen will characterize the genetic diversity of antioxidants in amaranth and look at optimizing antioxidant pigment production through light-spectrum manipulation.

2022 Caitlin Jaime Risener

The Anne S. Chatham Fellowship in Medicinal Botany

Activity of a Traditional Medicinal Plant Species against SARS-CoV-2

Working with the Quave Research Group at Emory University, Risener will investigate new treatments to combat COVID-19 infection. Using a one-of-akind collection of more than 2,000 botanical extracts, Risener’s project will pinpoint herbal ingredients (medicinal plants and edible botanicals) from Plant-F that interfere with SARS-CoV-2 viral entry. 

2021 Elizabeth Green

The Anne S. Chatham Fellowship in Medicinal Botany
School: PhD candidate in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee at Knoxville

Social Network Analysis of Hemp Farming Communities in Appalachia.

Green uses field observation, experiments, and mathematical modeling to test ecological and ethnoecological hypotheses in agricultural settings. Her research focuses on gaining a mechanistic understanding of how local ecological knowledge-sharing within social networks of farmers can help to optimize secondary metabolite concentrations in hemp. Growing hemp in the Appalachian region of the United States has only recently been legalized, with farmers consequently acting largely as their own research advocates. Green’s research will serve to facilitate more equitable farmer access to advanced management support, working to better farmer success.


2021 Evelyn Jane Abraham

The Anne S. Chatham Fellowship in Medicinal Botany
School: The Pennsylvania State University

Biochemometrics for Unraveling Medicinal Plant Synergy: Techniques for Evaluating Basil Antibacterial Activity 

Abraham’s primary focus is biochemometrics, a natural products approach combining analytical chemistry, bacterial assays, and multivariate statistics to identify novel compounds with medicinal properties. Currently, she is applying biochemometrics to Ocimum basilicum (basil) to discover compounds in leaves that potentiate basil’s essential oil bioactivity against Staphylococcus aureus. As a common culinary herb with well documented essential oil chemistry, basil is readily available and serves as a valuable resource for herbal medicinal research.

2021 Hayley Prescott

The Anne S. Chatham Fellowship in Medicinal Botany
School: PhD candidate in Pharmacognosy, Department of BioMolecular Sciences, University of Mississippi

Botanical Aphrodisiacs for Women's Health

A trained herbalist, Prescott is investigating botanical species traditionally used as female aphrodisiacs, hoping to lead to better treatment options for Female Sexual Dysfunctions. In particular, she is seeking specialized metabolites of species which activate a receptor known to increase arousal and desire. Optimistic about the future of botanical medicine, she intends to elucidate the pharmacological mechanism of ethnobotanical aphrodisiacs.


2020 Naya Jones PhD

The Anne S. Chatham Fellowship in Medicinal Botany

On the Move: African-American Medicinal Ethnobotany and the Great Migration

Naya Jones is an assistant professor 
of Sociology and core facultyin Global and Community Health at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a Culture of Health
 Leader, a program supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
 A geographer, she researches African American gardens and the Great Migration—the mass migration of African Americans from the South between 1916 and 1970. For “On 
the Move,” Jones uses oral history 
and ethnobotanical and archival methods to understand how the Great Migration shaped Black medicinal plant use and gardening beyond the South. The project holds relevance for preserving botanical knowledge and for resilience in the context of global migration and climate change.

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Scholarship Opportunities Abound

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