Rank: Full-time Professor
Teaching field: Chemical ecology
- BSc Carleton University (1970)
- PhD Carleton University (1976)
Keywords: Physiology and biochemistry, ethnobotany, phytochemistry,natural health products, chemical ecology
Current research interests:
1. Chemical ecology
Co-evolution of plants and their pests has led to the diversification of plants and insects as well as the biochemical defenses of plants, known as secondary metabolites or phytochemicals. Our research group has studied in detail several types of phytochemical defenses in plant families including light activated phytochemicals of the sunflower family, insect antifeedant defenses of the mahogany family, neurotoxins and synergists of the pepper family, and dehydrodiferulate dimers in cereals. The adaptive response of insects and other pests to these defenses and their applications have been another focus of this research. Currently, our discovery program is studying rare plant families of the neotropics in collaboration with Costa Rican researchers in order to discover new and potentially useful natural plant products.
Knowledge of biologically active medicinal plant species in world floras is perhaps greatest among traditional healers. We are collaborating with groups of healers in various locations to better record and understand their pharmacopoeias, the biological activity of their plants and the cultural context of their traditional medicine. The use of antimalarial and antifungal plants is a focus of this research.
Legislation enacted this year allows therapeutic use of botanical drugs in