Prominent Mexican scientist recognized by ABC for contributions to medicinal plant research

By Stephen Daniells contact

- Last updated on GMT

Prof Mata is best known for her work on the chemistry of plant compounds from Mexican medicinal plants, fungi, and lichen (pictured).  Image © Getty Images / aga7ta
Prof Mata is best known for her work on the chemistry of plant compounds from Mexican medicinal plants, fungi, and lichen (pictured). Image © Getty Images / aga7ta

Related tags: American botanical council, fungi

Professor Rachel Mata is the recipient of the American Botanical Council’s 2019 Norman R. Farnsworth Excellence in Botanical Research Award.

Dr. Mata, professor emerita at the Department of Pharmacy, School of Chemistry, National Autonomous University of Mexico (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, UNAM), is a pharmacist, pharmacognosist, and natural products researcher who has spent most of the past five decades investigating the quality, composition, and benefits of Mexican medicinal plants and fungi. She is best known for her work on the chemistry of plant compounds from Mexican medicinal plants, fungi, and lichen.

“I have become familiar with Prof. Mata’s work through her many presentations at the annual meeting of the American Society of Pharmacognosy,” ​said Stefan Gafner, PhD, ABC Chief Science Officer. “In my opinion, she has become – through the quality and impressive body of work, and her collaborative spirit – the face of pharmacognosy research on Mexican medicinal plants. I consider her one of the giants in the field of botanical natural products research and believe that she is most deserving of this award.”

Prof. Mata stated in an email to ABC: “I am very pleased and grateful to receive the 2019 American Botanical Council Norman R. Farnsworth Excellence in Botanical Research Award. I would like to thank ABC for honoring me with this award, in particular to [ABC Founder and Executive Director] Mark Blumenthal and Stefan Gafner.

“To be recognized by ABC is a true honor because this organization really endorses the rational use of medicinal plants, which has been for many years one of the main goals of my research at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, in Mexico City. The fact that this year the award turns to Mexico reflects the worldwide inclusion of ABC.

“To receive an award named after the late Professor Norman R. Farnsworth is overwhelming. Professor Farnsworth’s legacy to the world of modern pharmacognosy is invaluable,”​ she added.

The award will be announced and presented at the 15th Annual ABC Botanical Celebration and Awards Ceremony on March 4, 2020, in Anaheim, California. The event, for ABC Sponsor Members, occurs during Natural Products Expo West.

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