UIC/NIH Center for Botanical Dietary Supplement Research in Women's Health

College of Pharmacy

UIC Botanical Center Principals

Norman R. Farnsworth (1930 - 2011)

Founding Director of the UIC Botanical Center, serving from 1999 through May 2011,  Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, UIC Distinguished Professor, Emeritus Director and Advisor to the Pharmacognosy Graduate Program, and Emeritus Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Traditional Medicine, PhD. (1959) University of Pittsburgh.

Research interests: Working into his 81st year, Dr. Farnsworth’s research interests were broad and are represented by his portfolio of more than 800 publications focusing on the scientific investigation of botanicals and other natural products.  He was a tireless champion of the field of Pharmacognosy – the study of natural products for their medicinal properties – having been a founding member of the American Society of Pharmacognosy in 1959.  He created a unique data base which combs natural products literature from all corners of the world.  The NAPRALERT data base contains more than 200,000 unique citations.


Richard B. van Breemen

Professor and Director, UIC/NIH Center for Botanical Dietary Supplements Research and Project 3 and Cores A and D Leader. Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy. Assistant to the Director of the Research Resources Center. PhD. (1985) The Johns Hopkins University

Research interests:
Biiomedical applications of tandem mass spectrometry (MS-MS) and HPLC-MS-MS including the discovery and development of botanical natural products for cancer chemoprevention and women's health.  We are using mass spectrometry in all aspects of drug discovery and development from the screening of plant extracts for the discovery of new therapeutic agents to in vitro models of drug metabolism and bioavailability studies in clinical trials.


Judy L. Bolton

Professor and Department Head, and Botanical Center Project 2 and Core C Leader, Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, Ph.D. (1988) University of Toronto.

Research interests:
Chemical toxicology.  The toxic effects elicited by dietary constituents often involves oxidative metabolism to electrophilic intermediates.  We utilize chemical and biological approaches to study the cytotoxic/genotoxic mechanism including synthesis, spectroscopy, chromatography and enzymology. Metabolites and metabolic intermediates are identified, and their effects on various biochemical parameters studied.


Guido F. Pauli

Professor and Botanical Center Co-Director and Project 1 and Core B Leader, Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, Ph.D. (1993) Heinrich Heine-University Dusseldorf; Pharm.D., 1988, Philipps University Marburg.

Research interests:
Within the realm of modern pharmacognosy, investigation of traditional as well as novel natural products by means of chemical, biological, pharmacological and metabolome analysis.  Research tools are computer-aided structure elucidation, multidimensional and quantitative NMR, modern chromatographic methods including countercurrent chromatography, in tandem with in vitro and in vivo biology and pharmacology as well as microbiological methods. Relying on this tool chest, research focuses are in phytopharmacy and phytochemistry, herbal dietary supplements, reference materials, anti-TB drugs and mycobacterial secondary metabolites.


Djaja Doel Soejarto

Professor, UIC Botanical Center Botanist, Curator of the Dorothy Bradley Atkins Medicianl Plant Garden and Director of the Pharmacognosy Field Station, Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, and the Department of Biology, Ph.D.(1969) Harvard University.

Research interests:
Taxonomy and conservation of plants, with special focus in Southeast Asia, particularly, Vietnam and Laos, and study of plants used in indigenous therapy, as well as tropical rainforest exploarations of new and potential medicinal plants (bioprospecting), as part of collaborative research projects at UIC. I also study the taxonomy of the family Actinidiaceae.  Since 1998, I have been directing an international collaborative program to study the biodiversity of Vietnam and Laos, as part of the International Cooperative Biodiversity Groups (ICBG) Program. (http://www.fic.nih.gov/programs/icbg.html and http://www.uic.edu/pharmacy/research/icbg/ICBG.htm) of the Fogarty International Center, NIH.  Our ICBG program activities include floristics and conservation at Cuc Phuong National Park; studies of medicinal plants of Laos; biological evaluation of plants of Vietnam and Laus using anti-HIV, anticancer, anti-TB and anti-malarial bioassays toward the discovery of biologically active molecules as potential candidates for pharmaceutical development; and the promotion of economic development among communities in Vietnam and Laos, where our ICBG work is being undertaken. Aside from UIC as base institution, our ICBG consortium members include Purdue University, Vietnamese Academy of Science and Technology in Hanoi (Institute of Biotechnology, Institute of Chemistry, and Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources), Cuc Phuong National Park (Vietnam), Traditional Medicine Research Center in Vientiane (Laos), and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (industrial partner).


Marlos Viana

Marlos Viana, PhD is Associate Professor of Biostatistics in Ophthalmology.

Research interests:
His current primary research is in the application of algebraic methods to the analysis and interpretation of data associated with symmetry conditions, with particular interest in statistical and linear optics, corneal topography, polarimetric data, statistical (molecular) chirality data, decompositions of entropy, and the study of short symbolic sequences. He has advised, taught, and collaborated with students at all graduate and undergraduate levels in a variety of theoretical and applied fields since 1978. He teaches at the Honors College and has a joint faculty appointment with the College of Pharmacy and the Honors College. He has served as faculty statistician at UIC's General Clinical Research Center and at UIC's Institutional Review Board. He is a member of several editorial boards and the editor of Vols 287 and 516 of the AMS's Contemporary Mathematics series.


Elizabeth Krause

Program Manager, (1996) PharmD, University of Illinois College of Pharmacy.

Research interests:
The use of Botanical Dietary Supplements for health maintenance and disease prevention. Other interests include research on currently available modalities of complementary and alternative medicine, as well as the history of medicine and the convergence of various health practices including the use of prescription drugs with botanical dietary supplements.

Research faculty

Chen, Shaonong

Research Assistant Professor of Pharmacognosy, PhD (June 1997), Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, China.

Research interests:
Validation of botanical identity/taxonomy and purity (lack of adulteration) by means of microscopic, chromatographic analysis (UHPLC) and NMR techniques; qualitative and quantitative analysis of botanical synergy of an extract from 7 botanicals, including detection and evaluation of synergy / antagonism in extract combinations, establish and optimize loss-free liquid-liquid separation technology as well as isolation and identification of the active components among them.

Dietz, Birgit M.

Research Assistant Professor Birgit Dietz, Co-Investigator
Research Assistant Professor, Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy; Ph.D. (2002) Heinrich Heine-University Düsseldorf; Pharm.D. (1997) Heinrich Heine-University Düsseldorf, Germany.

Research interests:
My research is focused on the elucidation of the biological activity of botanicals used in Women Health. In particular, I am interested in the abilities of these botanicals, such as hops, black cohosh, dang-gui, and red clover to prevent breast and endometrial cancer. The selective estrogen receptor modulator, tamoxifen, which is used for breast cancer prevention and breast cancer treatment, causes hot flashes and an increase in endometrial cancer. Therefore, women frequently use botanicals for the alleviation of tamoxifen-associated hot flashes. My research effort is to analyze whether these botanicals can enhance the cancer preventive properties of tamoxifen on the breast tissue and if these botanicals can prevent tamoxifen induced endometrial cancer. At the same time, we elucidate the safety of the combined treatment of tamoxifen and these often utilized botanical dietary supplements in Women Health. In close collaboration with Project 1, we evaluate the biological activities of the extracts, fractions, and isolated compounds.

Dejan Nikolic

Mass Spec Research Specialist, Research Assistant Professor Dejan Nikolic, is a Co-Investigator in the Analytical Core.
He received his PhD from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1999, he also holds a bachelors degree in pharmacy from the University of Belgrade,Serbia (1993) .

Research interests
He utilizes modern liquid chromatography-mass spectrometric approaches to determine the structure of active plant ingredients, their bioavailability, metabolic pathways and potential toxicity. He is also involved in quantitative determination of active ingredients in clinical specimens from patients enrolled in the clinical trials.

David C Lankin

Research Associate Professor David C Lankin, Co-Investigator
David C. Lankin Ph.D. (Organic Chemistry) - Research Associate Professor, Department of Medicinal Chemistry & Pharmacognosy UIC. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Cincinnati (1972). Following a 2-year post-doctoral at the University of New Orelans (Gary W. Griffin / Photochemistry), he joined the Chemical Division of the Borg-Warner Corporation (Borg-Warner Chemicals). During the period (1974 - 1985) he was involved in developing and applying NMR technology at the Borg-Warner Research Center in Des Plaines, Illinois. In 1985, he moved to Varian Associates as an NMR Applications Chemist and was responsible for the operation of the Chicago NMR Applications Laboratory. In 1988 he joined the Physical Methodology Department of G.D. Searle (which later became Pharmacia Corporation in 2000 and Pfizer in 2002) where he was a Principal Research Scientist and Supervisor of the NMR Laboratory.

Research interests
He has co-authored > 60 papers in the field of organic chemistry with emphasis on the structural and quantitative applications of NMR. In 2000 he was awarded the Distinguished Service Award of the Chicago Section of The Society for Applied Spectroscopy. He is presently working (with Guido Pauli) in the UIC/NIH Botanical Center and is involved with the structure elucidation of natural products using NMR.

Clinical Affiliates - Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine


Lee Shulman

Professor Lee Shulman, MD Lee Shulman: Clinical Interests are Hormonal Problems, Genetics - Reproductive, Genetics - Common Diseases, Genetics - Cancer, Amniocentesis, Chorionic Villi Sampling, Contraception Shulman works at Northwestern Memorial Hospital: (312) 926-6622


Suzanne Banuvar

Senior Research Specialist Suzanne Banuvar, Study Manager