he Director of the Pharmacognosy Graduate Program, and Director of the World Health Organization Program for Collaborative Research in the Pharmaceutical Sciences – a multidisciplinary program which brought together, for the first time, scientists in numerous fields of medicinal plant research to collaborate on drug discovery from medicinal plants. In 1988, he was named Senior University Scholar at UIC. He held the title of Distinguished Professor of Pharmacognosy, which he received for his "scholarship, creativity and leadership" from 2001 until his death.
As head of the pharmacognosy graduate program at UIC, he had mentored more than 100 Ph.D. and 30 MS students. He said he had "personally" mentored about 30 Ph.D. and 5 MS graduate students as well as mentored or co-mentored 30 post-doctoral fellows.
Professor Farnsworth was an internationally-recognized scholar and initiator or co-initiator of many significant projects in the fields of pharmacognosy and medicinal plant research. Among other accomplishments, he was a founding member of the American Society of Pharmacognosy (ASP) in 1959 and a founding member of the Society for Economic Botany (1959).
In 1975, Prof. Farnsworth created the NAPralert (acronym for Natural Products Alert) Database at UIC, the world's first computerized database of ethnobotany, chemistry, pharmacology, toxicology, and clinical trials on medicinal plants.
He also was the Principal Investigator and Director of the Botanical Dietary Supplements for Women's Health Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health.
The author or co-author of hundreds of research papers published in peer-reviewed journals, Prof. Farnsworth co-founded the peer-reviewed journal Phytomedicine, the International Journal of Phytotherapy and Phytopharmacology, along with Professor Hildebert Wagner, Ph.
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