News from the Emory University Herbarium

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Emory Assistant Professor Heather Christle of Creative Writing in the Department of English visited the Emory University Herbarium with 14 of her first-year seminar students. Students were asked to brainstorm on the topic of "Writing in the Garden". They examined the poisonous plants that Shakespeare mentioned in his works, plants used by Emily Dickinson in her poems and other interesting writings on herbarium sheets.

This type of learning activity is a wonderful example of how we can use plants to bridge the science and humanities.

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Research Capacity Building trip to Kosovo a success!

This week, Dr. Quave traveled to Pristina, Kosovo to meet with collaborator, Prof. Avni Hajdari in the Biology Department at the University of Pristina, and lead a training workshop on how to perform plant DNA analyses and how to use HPLC to investigate the chemistry of local flora. This project was funded by the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and administered by USAID Kosovo.

Prof. Hajdari and PhD candidates in the Organismal Biology and Ecology graduate program at the University of Pristina (pictured below) participated in the program. Quave Research Group team members also assisted with the week-long training exercise via virtual platforms, with Dr. Thara Samarakoon leading efforts on the DNA team, along with Dr. Airy Gras and Cate Risener; and Dr. Sunmin Woo leading efforts on HPLC methodologies, along with Lewis Marquez and Will Crandall.
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(Left Photo) Dr. Quave and Dr. Hardari (center) with graduate students Memoze and Blerta in front of the entrance to the faculty of sciences. (Right Photo) Mimoze Buzhala is interested in phylogenetics of medicinal plants. Her research focuses on the medicinal genus Centaurea in the Asteraceae family, which is used in traditional medicine as a healing plant for eye infections, respiratory tract infections, and as a dye plant in the Balkans. Her field research brings her to some beautiful regions of Kosovo, including the biodiverse Sharri mountains. In the lab, she extracts plant DNA and examines the makeup of volatile compounds from this genus.
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(Left Photo) Bledar Pulaj is interested in the differentiation of medicinal species used in trade throughout the Balkans. His dissertation work is focused on the chemical and phylogenetic analysis of Achillea species (Asteraceae). He recently coauthored a paper on the phlylogenetics of tulip species. (Right Photo) Blerta Salihu is interested in secondary metabolites of economically important food plants. Her dissertation research is focused on the chemical and genetic evaluation of wild hops (Humulus lupulus, Cannabaceae) growing in Kosovo. Her research takes her to beautiful sites across the country, including Batlava lake, Mitrovica, Drenas, Prizren, Skenderaj, Podujeve, and Pristina regions. In the lab, she extracts DNA for population genetics analyses and volatile compounds for GC-MS studies.

We filmed some of the experiments from the training workshop for posting on our new TikTok channel!

New on Foodie Pharmacology:

Oca! A Delightful Tuber with Dr. Eve Emshwiller

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This week, we get to the root of things! Literally! I speak with Dr. Eve Emshwiller, ethnobotanist and expert on the Andean tuber crop “Oca” in the genus Oxalis. We dig into the fascinating genetics, chemistry, and morphology of this staple food source. We also discuss how research on crop wild relatives can contribute to food security for the future.

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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