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Professor Doel Soejarto to Receive ABC's Farnsworth Excellence in Botanical Research Award
Date:3/1/2012

r and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal. "Prof. Farnsworth himself chose Prof. Soejarto a few months before he died last September. Thus Prof. Soejarto is the last person to receive this award with Prof. Farnsworth's 'blessing.'"

A native of Indonesia, Dr. Soejarto earned his master's and doctorate degrees at Harvard University, where the primary focuses of his studies were biology and botany.  He has held various professorial positions at UIC since 1979. Some of the highlights of his scientific career include the completion of the taxonomic revision of the genus Saurauia, the discovery of anti-HIV calanolides from a pair of Calophyllum species, and the founding of the herbarium at the University of Anitoqiua in Colombia.

As the principal investigator of The Vietnam-Laos International Cooperative Biodiversity Group, "a program for collaborative research in the pharmaceutical studies" housed in UIC's College of Pharmacy, Dr. Soejarto leads the group in inventorying the medicinal plants of Vietnam's Cuc Phuong National Park, analyzing plants in Vietnam and Laos for potential drug development, supporting economic development in Vietnam and Laos, and making information on Cuc Phuong's plants available on the web. Fifty-seven new and active compounds have been discovered thus far.

According to Dr. Soejarto, the concept of "multidisciplinary collaboration" in scientific research was one of the most significant things he learned from Dr. Farnsworth. It ultimately "lured him into the study of medicinal plants" and "enabled [him] to find a niche in the endeavor to discover new bioactive molecules from plants."

"Doel Soejarto has devoted almost a half century to the multi-disciplinary study of medicinal plants, including taxonomy, ethnobotany, biodiversity inventory and conservation, drug discovery, and intellectual property rights of indigenous people," said Harry Fong, Ph.D., professor emeritus of ph
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SOURCE American Botanical Council
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