Research capacity building enriches science across the globe

I've been so incredibly fortunate to have amazing research collaborators from different locales across the globe. In some cases, our teamwork has endured more than decade, for others, the alliances are fresher. One of my longest-standing collaborative efforts have been with Prof. Avni Hajdari (pictured above) at the University of Prishtina in the Republic of Kosovo, neighbored by Serbia, Albania, North Macedonia and Montenegro.

The last time I stepped foot in the Balkans was 30 months ago, and while we've been productive in maintaining our collaborative work across the globe, an in-person visit is long overdue. I'm so very grateful for the funding support of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) program. We were one of the lucky groups to be selected for funding and we've used this momentum to not only make important scientific progress towards building a better understanding of the pharmacological potential of hops terpenes for conditions like pain, but also to look deeper at wild-growing hops in the Balkans. You can read the abstract of our project here.

I'll be traveling to Kosovo next month to co-lead (along with Emory Herbarium collections manager, Dr. Thara Samarakoon) an educational workshop on how to analyze plant DNA samples and use HPLC (high-performance liquid chromatography) to examine the chemical profiles of medicinal plants. PEER supports not only such training efforts, but has also enabled the University of Prishtina to purchase their first HPLC equipment! It is with great hope that this will lead not only to great progress by local researchers, but also to new and exciting research training opportunities for students. Stay tuned for photos and updates from the trip in late February!

New Interview on the Garden America Radio show!

I had such fun speaking with the Garden America Radio show! You can catch the YouTube video of the episode with subtitles here. Enjoy!

Inspirational Quote of the Week

"Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’." —Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Quave at the University of Florida Whitney Laboratory

I had such a lovely visit to the Whitney lab, located in Saint Augustine, FL! I gave two lectures: one for the public, followed by a book signing and the other for the local scientific community. The Whitney Laboratory researchers conduct ground-breaking research in the field of marine science, they do community outreach and education for more than 5,000 local grade school students, and they also have an amazing Sea Turtle hospital on site! I was honored to be their guest...and the ocean-views weren't too bad, either!

New Episode of Foodie Pharmacology:

Hooked with Michael Moss

We’ve talked a lot about the topics of food security and food choice on the show, and I think most of you will agree that it can be hard to keep a healthy diet. But, have you ever considered if some of our food decisions are beyond our control? Are certain foods engineered to be addictive, like drugs or alcohol? An how complicit is the food industry in creating and marketing such foods? We’ll cover these topics and more today with our special guest, Pulitzer prize winning and best selling author, Michael Moss. He’ll share insights from his latest book, Hooked: Food, Free Will and How the Food Giants Exploit Our Addictions. Find out more at his website, or follow him on Instagram @michaelcmoss .

Have you been reading THE PLANT HUNTER? If you love the book, please help me get the word out! Consumer reviews are greatly needed on Amazon, Audible, Barnes and Noble, Good Reads and more. Thank you!

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