Plant-derived Drug Discovery in an Introductory Biology Laboratory Course (Faculty Pub Night)

Tuesday, April 19, 2022 5:30pm to 7pm

1 LMU Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90045

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UPADTE: Please note that the date for this event has changed. It will now take place on April 19. 2022.

The final Faculty Pub Night of the 2021-2022 season features Tatiana Kuzmenko and Demian Willette (LMU Seaver College of Science and Engineering). They will discuss their recent publication, "Plant-derived Drug Discovery in an Introductory Biology Laboratory Course."

Note: If you are interested in attending this event, please RSVP here or select the "Register" button on this page.

About Faculty Pub Night: 

Students, staff, faculty, alumni, and any members of the public are all invited to the 2021-2022 series of Faculty Pub Night at the William H. Hannon Library. Eight LMU professors are selected annually to discuss their latest publication or project in a comfortable setting and format that welcomes diverse perspectives for an inclusive conversation aimed to educate the entire community. All Faculty Pub Nights are free and open to the public.

About the Authors' Work:

While teaching General Biology Lab at LMU we have noticed that students often refer to plants as a “least interesting” and even “irrelevant” subject to study. To boost student engagement and appreciation for plants, we have developed a hands-on, experimental laboratory module that introduces students to one of the many important aspects that plants play in our lives: plant-derived medicine. The students begin by getting a background of traditional plants used by Native Californians as well as modern herbal medicine prior to engaging in their own research. We have established a medicinal plant garden on the teaching terrace of the Life Science Building on campus that has around 40 different species of common and native medicinal plants. Working in groups, the students learn to harvest and dry plants, prepare extracts, and test them in lab for anti-microbial, anti-cancer, sedative, and stimulatory properties and, finally, present their findings to peers. This publication summarizes the findings from 163 student experiments that ran over the period of three years describing the methodology as well as highlighting 29 plant species that have shown the most interesting properties in the lab.

About the Authors: 

Tatiana’s education was more of a classical naturalist, a person who wonders outside pocking, observing and identifying all the living organisms around; a sage bush, a coyote or a spider will get her equally excited. Maybe that’s why she loves camping so much. She doesn’t believe that there are living things out there that don’t deserve our attention. So she has been lucky to teach General Biology Labs at LMU that present students with a great opportunity to take a close look at a wide variety of living organisms from bacteria to plants and animals. While sharing her passion for exploration of life with students Tatiana is constantly looking for ways to engage students into the subjects they maybe not be interested before coming to class. In collaboration with her colleagues Tatiana is working on developing lab activities that help students connect Biological concepts to their everyday life as well as to other disciplines providing a more holistic understanding and as a result better learning outcomes.

For more information on my background please refer to her biography and CV.

Demian Willette is an assistant professor in biology and faculty affiliate of the Environmental Sciences program in Seaver College. His research is in the field of applied ecology with a focus on sustainable marine fisheries, biological invasions, and California habitat restoration. Demian has published over 40 peer-reviewed scientific papers, run research in 16 countries, and his group’s work has been featured by the Los Angeles Times, Science, New York Times, Huffington Post, NPR, CNN, and Fox News. His lab’s research is fueled by the creative thinking of outstanding undergraduate researchers and the dedication of brilliant national and international collaborators who work together to help solve our pressing environmental challenges. Visit www.willettelab.com to learn more.

About the William H. Hannon Library:

The William H. Hannon Library fosters excellence in academic achievement through an array of distinctive services that enable learners to feed their curiosity, experience new worlds, develop their ideas, inform their decision-making, and inspire others. More information can be found at http://library.lmu.edu

For more information about this event, contact John Jackson, Head of Outreach & Engagement for the William H. Hannon Library, at (310) 338-5234 or john.jackson@lmu.edu.

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