Natural products make up a sizable portion of the drugs Americans use every day. What makes these products effective? Are there other plants we haven’t discovered yet that could help us control diseases such as cancer and malaria? These are the questions Denise Simpson, Ph.D., is focused on answering through her research.
“If you take a look at all currently marketed drugs in the clinic right now, more than 50 percent of them have natural product backgrounds,” Simpson said. “They’re either natural products themselves or they’re derived from natural products, and so natural products are very important for developing and discovering drugs to treat several disease conditions.”
She plans to begin her research by collecting plants used by Native Americans or people in other countries to treat diseases. She will dry the plant material, take it into the lab and run tests to see how it can be used in the future. She hopes to determine what causes the plant to be effective to determine how they can be used to help more people.
Simpson is working with other pharmacy faculty members at Cedarville University, including Rocco Rotello, Ph.D., and Elisha Injeti, Ph.D. Simpson is also seeking to foster collaboration with colleagues at Central State University. The Tawawa Woods near the Wilberforce, Ohio, school are home to specimens that will be valuable to Simpson’s research. Simpson is also planning to collect from the Glen Helen and Clifton Gorge nature preserves in Ohio.
Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University attracts 3,400 undergraduate, graduate and online students to more than 100 areas of study. Celebrating 125 years of inspiring greatness, Cedarville is a Christ-centered learning community recognized nationally for rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings and leading student satisfaction ratings. Visit the University online at www.cedarville.edu.