ABC names award recipients for research and literature

By Stephen DANIELLS

- Last updated on GMT

ABC names award recipients for research and literature

Related tags: Ethnobotany, Herb

The American Botanical Council has named the 2014 recipients for its Norman R. Farnsworth Excellence in Botanical Research Award, the Varro E. Tyler Award for Phytomedicinal Research, and the James A. Duke Excellence in Botanical Literature Award.

Prof Harry Fong, PhD, is the recipient of the ABC Norman R. Farnsworth Excellence in Botanical Research Award for 2014. Dr Fong – a close friend and collaborator of Prof. Farnsworth for almost 60 years at the University of Illinois, Chicago (UIC) – has focused his research efforts on collaborative drug discovery from plants, particularly those with active antitumor, cancer chemopreventative, antimalarial, and anti-tuberculosis activities.

“Being named the recipient of the ABC Norman R. Farnsworth Excellence in Botanical Research Award for 2014 is a unique honor,”​ said Dr Fong. “To be invited to join the company of a small, select group of internationally recognized botanical medicine researchers is very humbling.”

Dr Fong has authored more than 270 scientific journal articles, co-authored nine book chapters, and edited 16 scientific publications, including multiple WHO medicinal plant monographs.

“Harry Fong has made many significant contributions in the fields of drug discovery from botanical materials, the quality control of botanical dietary supplements and traditional herbal medicines, and in setting standards for herbal medicines worldwide,”​ said ABC Chief Science Officer, Stefan Gafner, PhD, who did post-doctoral research at UIC from 1998 to 1999. “He is internationally recognized as an expert in herbal medicine and one of the most highly regarded pharmacognosists of our time.”

“Dr. Fong’s ability to encourage and inspire collaborative research from world-renowned scientists is second to no one's,”​ added Natural Products Association CEO Daniel Fabricant, PhD, and former director of Dietary Supplement Programs at the US Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Fabricant received his PhD from Prof. Farnsworth at UIC and Prof. Fong was a member of his thesis committee. “Fong played a huge role in expanding the program at UIC into the best in the world, leaving no details to chance, then repeated that success with the WHO program and countless others.”

2014 ABC James A. Duke Excellence in Botanical Literature Award

ABC

ABC’s Excellence in Botanical Literature Award recipient is Nancy Turner, PhD, for her two-volume work — Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge: Ethnobotany and Ecological Wisdom of Indigenous Peoples of Northwestern North America (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2014).

Dr Turner compiled a database of plant names from approximately 50 Indigenous languages and major dialects of the First Peoples, whose territories extend through most of the area covered in the book — from central Alaska to the Columbia River and east to the Rocky Mountains in western North America.

“I tried to write the book in an accessible way,”​ Dr. Turner continued, “so that it would be useful and of interest to a large and diverse group, from undergraduate university and college students to interested members of the general public. Most especially, I wanted to honor the elders and knowledge holders from Indigenous communities, and hope that younger generations will find the information in the book relevant and important as a part of their own cultural heritage.”

“Dr. Nancy J. Turner collects, preserves, and explores biological information for (not from) Indigenous cultures, primarily First Nation groups in British Columbia,”​ said Steven Foster, noted author, photographer, and former president of the ABC Board of Trustees. “Her five decades of shared wisdom challenge how we think about people as a part of, rather than apart from, ecosystems. Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge is a magnum opus of timeless value that will define ethnobiology and ethnoecology for generations forward.”

“Ethnobotany is a key foundation of modern herbal medicine,”​ said ABC Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal. “Much of the herbal knowledge we have today is based on the traditional uses of plants by people in Indigenous cultures. Nancy Turner’s documentation of the plant use in northwestern North America is a true treasure.”

Commercial Investment in Phytomedicinal Research

Soho Flordis International (SFI) is the recipient of ABC’s annual Varro E. Tyler Commercial Investment in Phytomedicinal Research Award. Australia-based SFI was established in 2010 as a collaboration between Flordis Pty Ltd and SOHO Group. The company’s brands now include Flordis, Ginsana, ProThera, Klaire Labs, and Complementary Prescriptions.

“SFI has established itself as one of the leading herbal dietary supplement companies with a portfolio of products that are well-characterized not only with regard to the phytochemical composition but also their research regarding safety and efficacy,”​ said ABC Chief Science Officer Stefan Gafner, PhD.

“The number of current and past clinical studies is a testament to their commitment to high-quality products. I congratulate SFI for their outstanding work and for their well-deserved recognition in the form of the 2014 ABC Varro E. Tyler Award for Commercial Investment in Phytomedicinal Research.”

“We are really delighted to receive the American Botanical Council’s Varro E. Tyler Award,” ​said Nigel Pollard, CEO of SFI. “In fact, our company’s vision was inspired by Professor Tyler and Mr. [Mark] Blumenthal at a conference 16 years ago in Australia. Prof. Tyler’s principles of rational phytotherapy underpin these investments and our vision for natural products in mainstream medicine.”

ABC Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal said: “SFI is a company built on the research-based values that Professor Tyler promoted regarding developing and marketing clinically tested phytomedicinal products. As a research- and science-based organization, ABC is pleased to be able to recognize SFI for its many clinical trials and related research achievements.”

The 10th Annual ABC Botanical Celebration and Awards Ceremony will be held on March 5, 2015 during Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, California. 

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