Welcoming a new visiting scholar to the team!

I'm excited to welcome a new visiting scholar to the Quave Research Group! Amira Salim is an Egyptian student conducting her PhD studies at the University of Sassari in Sardinia, Italy, in the laboratory of Prof. Severino Zara. She's visiting us at Emory for a six-month research training experience, where she'll be learning new methods to use in the chemical and pharmacological evaluation of plant compounds derived from pomegranate (Punica granatum) fruit!

New paper out on machine learning approaches to differentiating between bacteria and fungi!

metabolites-12-00232-g002 (1)
If you've ever smelled the rancid odor of food that has spoiled, you've encountered the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that microbes produce! But, did you know that each microbe produces a different "perfume" (so to speak) of these smelly compounds? In our latest work in collaboration with a team of physicians, engineers, chemists, and bioinformaticians, we collected the compounds responsible for the smell of different pathogenic bacteria and fungi, assessed their chemical makeup by gas chromatography mass spectrometry, and then applied a machine learning algorithm to the data in order to differentiate between different pathogens.

You may be wondering, why do we care what bacteria or fungi smell like?

One of the biggest bottlenecks in getting the right treatment to patients is the time that it takes to accurately determine which pathogen is responsible for an infection. It can take days to isolate, culture and grow the bacteria found in a sample of infectious fluid from a patient. This machine learning approach described in the paper lays the groundwork for future studies in which we hope to collect and analyze the "smell" of infection at the patient's bedside to generate new rapid point-of-care diagnostic tools.

Here is the full reference to the paper. Click on the link to access the full paper:
Arora, M., S.C. Zambryzcki, J.M. Levy, A. Esper, J.K. Frediani, C.L. Quave, F.M. Fernández, R. Kamaleswaran. (2022) Machine Learning Approaches to Identify Discriminative Signatures of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) from Bacteria and Fungi using SPME-DART MS. Metabolites, 12, 232. https://doi.org/10.3390/metabo12030232

Fun read of the week: Cretan Rockrose!

Image credit: Cistus creticus. Robert Sibthorp, Flora Graeca, Dumbarton Oaks Rare Book Collection

I've encountered this lovely species during past expeditions in the Mediterranean. Not only is it beautiful, but it also has a fascinating and rich history of medicinal and perfume applications. Recently featured on JSTOR as the plant of the month, this blog post on the Cretan Rockrose is well worth a read!

AHPA Herbal Insight Award

I was so incredibly honored to be recognized with the 2022 American Herbal Products Association Herbal Insight Award, announced this week at Expo West! This award recognizes individuals or non-commercial organizations that have a significant impact on furthering knowledge and understanding of botanicals and their uses. You can read the news release on this and other AHPA awards to learn more.

Save the Date for SEB/SoE in Atlanta!

inside student center
This week, I toured Emory University's beautiful new student center! I'm so happy to be hosting the 2023 joint meeting of the Society for Economic Botany (SEB) and Society of Ethnobiology (SoE) at the student center from June 4-8, 2023! More information on the lineup of speakers, workshops and events will be forthcoming. In the meantime, be sure to place a hold on your calendar for these dates! The conference is a welcoming venue for all interested in the interrelationships between humans and the natural world.
Check out this virtual video tour of the meeting venue!

Job Opportunity at San Diego Botanic Garden

There is an exciting new job opportunity for a "Medicinal Plant Collections Research Scientist" at the lovely San Diego Botanic Garden! They are looking for a candidate with a "Ph.D. in natural products discovery, pharmacognosy, biology, botany, chemistry,
genetics, horticulture, germplasm management, human health/medicine or equivalent with interest in developing and investigating plant collections for research purposes." Read the full job description here.

New Book Blurbs

“Quave’s fascinating story is full of insights with equal respect for traditional healing and ‘scientific’ medicine.”
—Jonathan Drori, author of Around the World in 80 Plants

"This most remarkable book is overflowing with inspiration, delight and adventure, as Cassandra Quave brilliantly describes her search to understand nature’s healing power. Above all, Quave offers an intensely honest and personal story of a life filled with purpose, joy and challenges, which will no doubt influence a generation of young people seeking to serve the greater good, while reminding us all that we are inextricably connected to the Earth."
Michael J. Balick, Co-Author of Plants, People and Culture: The Science of Ethnobotany
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!
Support your local indie booksellers! You can find retailers in your area at Bookshop.org
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